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fart L 

PullisJied for tfie Committee of Couficil on Education, 




THE subject of the following chapters is what has been often 
mis-named Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, or Runic Art, whereas the style 
is Irish. The term Celtic belongs to the arts of bronze and 
gold and enamel practised in Britain before the Roman occupa- 
tion, and in Ireland before the introduction of Christianity in 
the fifth century. It also embraces the great stone forts that 
line the western coasts of the country, such as Dun Aengus 
and Dun Conor, as well as the chambered tombs of New Grange. 
The late Celtic style in Great Britain, the bronzes of which are 
marked by distinct characteristics in decoration, prevailed from 
about two hundred years before the birth of Christ to the time 
of the Roman occupation. It lingered to a much later date 
in Ireland. Early Celtic goes back much farther into a pre- 
historic region in which we cannot trace similar peculiarities of 
decorative design. The early Christian Art of Ireland may well 
be termed Scotic as well as Irish, just as the first missionaries 
from Ireland to the Continent were termed Scots, Ireland having 
borne the name of Scotia for many centuries before it was trans- 
ferred to North Britain; and foreign chroniclers of the ninth 
century speak of " Hibernia, island of the Scots," when referring 
to events in Ireland regarding which corresponding entries are 
found in the annals of that country.* 

The fact that Anglo-Saxon manuscripts exist in England with 
Irish decoration led to the misnomer Anglo-Saxon for this style 
until Waagen, who had sufficient knowledge of both styles to 
* See Reeves' "Adamnan," pp. 433, 437. 

viii PREFACE. 

perceive their difference, drew the defining line between them. 
The mistake, however, led to much confusion in the Continental 
libraries, where even manuscripts written as well as illuminated 
by Irish scribes, were frequently named Anglo-Saxon. 

The term Runic, likewise, is a misnomer as applied to such 
designs in Irish Art as interlaced patterns, knots, and basket- 
work, wnich occur on crosses with Runic inscriptions elsewhere. 
All comparative study of national and primitive forms of deco- 
rative Art seems to show that this term, as well as the others men- 
tioned, has been too ignorantly used. Such designs arc found 
in archaic Art in most parts of the world, and still appear in the 
native work of Japan and India. They characterise Roman Art 
of a certain period, and all that can be said is that certain 
varieties were developed in Ireland after their introduction with 
Christianity, which stamp the objects thus decorated with an 
Irish character. 

The peculiarity of Irish Art may be said to be the union of 
such primitive rhythmical designs as are common to barbarous 
nations, with a style which accords with the highest laws of the 
arts of design, the exhibition of a fine architectural feeling in the 
distribution of parts, and such delicate and perfect execution, 
whatever the material in which the art was treated, as must 
command respect for the conscientious artist by whom the work 
was carried out. 

The first attempt at a scientific treatment of the subject of 
Irish Archeology was made by the late George Petrie, LL.D., 
of Trinity College, Dublin. His work on " The Ecclesiastical 
Architecture of Ireland " is still the best authority on the subject 
of the origin and history of this art. His posthumous work on 
the Christian Inscriptions of Ireland affords a mass of evidence 
as to the date of sculptured stones in Ireland which renders 
the classification of undated specimens comparatively easy. In 
Ecclesiology, as in all studies of the arts practised for ecclesias- 
tical purposes, he and the late Rev. James Todd, D.D., of Dublin 


University, with the Rev. Dr. Reeves, now Bishop of Down and 
Conor, will always remain our pioneers. For the illustration 
of her antiquities, Ireland owes much to Edwin, third Earl of 
Dunraven, who, with indefatigable energy, sought out and photo- 
graphed all the typical examples of her ancient monuments 
throughout the country. 

I have to acknowledge much private assistance from Mr. 
T. W. Longfield, of the Science and Art Museum, Dublin ; from 
Mr. Wakeman, himself the author of many valuable works on 
Irish Antiquities ; and from Mr. MacEniry, the Curator of the 
Museum of the Royal Irish Academy. Mr. J. Anderson, of 
the Scottish Society of Antiquaries, has also most kindly 
allowed me the use of some valuable woodcuts from his work 
on te Scotland in Early Christian Times." 













FRONTISPIECE High Cross of Monasterboice. 

1 Ornamental Heading ........ 6 

2 Initial IN. " Book of Kells" . . . .6 

3 Initial T. " Book of Kells" . .... 9 

4 Initial A. " Book of Kells " 12 

5 Portion of Illuminated Monogram. " Book of Kells " . . 13 

6 Initial N. " Book of Kells " 15 

7 Portion of Illuminated Monogram. "Book of Kells" . . 16 

8 Initial L. " Book of Kells " 17 

9 Frontispiece of Epistle of Jerome. " Book of Durrow " . . 19 

10 Initial IN. ' ' Book of Hymns," fol. 8 20 

11 Initial A. " Book of Kells" 30 

12 Initial IN. *' Book of Hymns," fol. 8 33 

13 Initial R. " Book of Kells " 35 

14 Frontispiece to St. Luke's Gospel, Convent St. Arnoul, Metz 44 

15 Frontispiece to St. John's Gospel. Convent St. Arnoul, Metz 45 

16 Initial B. " Book of Kells" 50 

17 Initial A. " Book of Kells " 53 

18 Shrine of St. Patrick's Bell 60 

19 Shrine of St. Culanus' Bell Bearnan Cualaun .... 62 

20 Shrine of St. Culanus' Bell (Back) 63 

21 Bell of Cumascach Mac Ailello ...... 65 

22 Initial S. " Book of Hymns " 66 

23, 24 Shrine of Maelbrigde's Bell, Portions of . . . . .67 

25 Tara Brooch .......... 76 



26 Tara Brooch. Reverse . . -77 

27 Pin found at Clonmacnois 78 

28 Head of Pin. Clonmacnois . ... -79 

29 Roscrea Brooch. Petrie Collection So 

30 Ardagh Brooch ....< ... Si 

31 Chalice of Ardagh 83 

32 Initial B. "Book of Hymns," fol. 10 . SS 

33 Initial M. "Book of Hymns," fol. 9, verso . , 91 

34 Clasp of Case of Molaise's Gospels 92 

35 Initial B 9^ 

36 Case of Molaise's Gospels ....... 93 

37 Case of Stowe Missal 95 

38 Case of Dimma's Book ...... -97 

39 Portions of St. Dympna's Crosier 98 

39# Irish Crosier. Edinburgh Museum ...... 99 

40 Initial L. "Irish Tract.,' 5 Lib. Trin. Coll. Dub., FT. 2, 16 . 103 

41 Portion of Crosier. Petrie Museum 104 

42 Crosier of Bishops of Clonmacnois ...... 105 

43 Figures on the Shrine of St. Moguo . .107 

44 Cross of Cong . 108 

45, 46, 47 Book-binding and Clasps . no 

48 Knife-Handle ...... . . in 

49, 50 Portion of Harness and Book-binding . . . .in 

51 Book-binding .... . .112 

52 Knife-Handle .... . . . 112 





IT may be asked why we now offer the public a special handbook 
of Christian Art in Ireland, and why, when the Christian 
Antiquities of Scotland and Wales are so closely united, should 
we confine the subject of this volume to Ireland. 

The answer is that we believe Ireland maybe found to supply 
the key to many problems that have arisen for labourers in the 
'field of Christian Art in countries where the influence of the Irish 
Church was felt. Thus, in dealing with the Christian monuments 
of Scotland, the antiquary will acknowledge that there are in that 
country singularly few objects which may be regarded as land- 
marks from which to infer the dates of others of unknown age. 
This has led Mr. Anderson to say, " Neither the history nor the 
remains of the early Christian period in Scotland can be studied 
apart from those of Ireland." In dealing with the monastic ruins 
on the islands of the west coast of Scotland, he has to refer to 
the corresponding remains in Ireland to carry out his observations, 
since, he observes, " we have no such complete or characteristic 
groups in Scotland," and he continues : 

" To learn the special features of that earliest style of Christian 
construction we must look to Ireland, the ancient Scotia, where 
the genius of the people, their immemorial customs, their 

PART i. B 


language and institutions were so similar to those of our own 
country, that when the new faith was finally established by the 
labours of her missionaries, the converts accepted with it the 
ecclesiastical customs, constitution, and usages already established 
there. 37 

Referring to the round towers, two of which arc found in 
Scotland, he speaks of them as : 

" Stragglers from a great typical group which has its habitat 
in Ireland. It follows from this, that all questions as to the 
origin, purpose, and period of the type must be discussed with 
reference to the evidence derived from the investigation of the 
principal group, and that the general conclusions drawn from the 
extended data furnished by the many in Ireland must also hold 
good for the few in Scotland." * 

Again, when dealing with the sculptured stones he accepts 
the conclusions of the Irish school as to the date of the J ligh 
Crosses, which range from the beginning of the tenth to the; 
middle of the twelfth century, he concludes that the higher phase* 
of sculpture in relief was developed in Ireland at an earlier 
period than in Scotland. When we compare the antiquities cif 
Ireland and Scotland, >ve are struck by the comparatively .small] 
number of Christian sepulchral monuments in Scotland, and the 
rarity of sepulchral inscriptions, as compared with Ireland. 
Ireland gives upwards of 244 tombstones with inscriptions in ir.t* 
vernacular, Scotland can only boast of seven, five of which are 
from lona, and of a decidedly Irish type. While Ireland yields 
already 154 Ogham inscriptions, Scotland only shows four on tine 
main-land and seven on the Orkney and Shetland Islands. 

In the lengthened discussions carried on by English and 
Scottish antiquaries regarding the ISurghs or IJrodis of Scotland 
and the Orkney and Shetland Islands, much light might have 
been thrown upon the controversy by reference to the large class 

* Joeph Anderson, "Scotland in Karly Hm'stirm Times," vol. i. pp. 4 X, 
74, 76, So. Sec also this writer's observation on Irish Bells, quo! eel p. Oi 


of buildings in Ireland, which evidently belong to a similar con- 
dition of society and show a similar amount of knowledge in the 
builder. These are the prehistoric forts or duns on the west 
coast. Again, the results of the exploration of the earth-houses 
of Ireland strongly confirm the conclusions arrived at by the 
Scottish antiquaries as to the date and origin of these subterranean 
chambers (the Irish name of which tech talman^ house of earth 
exactly corresponds to the Norse jard-hus\ that they were 
treasuries in use about the time of the introduction of Christianity 
into these islands and while the Ogham character was in use. In 
fourteen instances, at all events, Oghams have been found on the 
walls of these Irish treasuries. 

For such reasons the comparative archaeologist will acknow- 
ledge the special importance of a handbook of Irish antiquities, 
but he will also learn that a still larger interest attaches to the 
subject of Irish Archaeology when its true place in relation to 
that of other countries has been defined. Owing to the fact of 
Ireland being the furthest western point of Europe from those 
centres of culture in the East and South whence the current 
flowed, it was long centuries after the first wave of culture had 
left its original source, that it broke upon the Irish shore. It is 
in that country, where they last existed, that we find the largest 
traces of those elements which are common to all races in the 
development of their primaeval arts. In the older countries where 
they first existed, they have been superseded in the vast tracts of 
time covered by their history. But in this little western island 
when their appearance was later, their periods of existence were 
shorter, their transitions more rapid, than in the East, since the 
older the human race becomes the more rapidly does progress 
advance, and changes follow in quick succession ; so that it is 
only in a country situated as Ireland was, that we may expect to 
find such a series of monuments still existing as will give us 
tangible evidence of the arts and customs of each period, back to 
that which is most remote. Such remains really are the only 

B 2 


tangible and trustworthy authority for information concerning 
primitive culture periods elsewhere. If this reflex light which is 
cast by Northern European monuments upon the history of 
prehistoric man be interesting, how much more so is that cast 
by the early Christian customs and arts of Ireland upon early 
Christian practices elsewhere ! Our authorities on Christian 
antiquities quote records of Christian customs among the first 
converts on the shores of the Mediterranean, all relics of which 
are lost, such as the rude bell, the wooden crosier, the stone 
chalice ; but such venerable objects are preserved to the present 
day in relic-loving Ireland. The custom of offering prayers for 
the dead has no such testimony to its early prevalence in the 
Church as that afforded by Ireland, whose every tombstone, 
almost from the earliest time, is inscribed with a request for 
intercession for the soul of the departed. In architecture the 
form of the Irish church points to an original type that has else- 
where been superseded by the basilica. It is the old traditional 
form of the Ark that building in which the Church was rescued 
from the flood of the Shrine in early Christian Art, in which were 
entombed the relics of some form that " once had been the 
temple of the spirit," and it is the form of the tomb and 
mortuary chapel which was preserved in Ireland even after the 
establishment of Romanesque architecture. The vexed question 
as to the , introduction and early use of ecclesiastical towers on 
the Continent remained long unsettled, because of the want of 
monuments, showing what were the earliest types in Western 
Europe. Ireland in her ecclesiastical circular towers shows us in 
upwards of a hundred instances what were the first and simplest 
types. Thus from the study of the monuments of Ireland the 
historian of Christian Art and Architecture may learn something 
of the works of a time, the remains of which have been swept 
away elsewhere ; and it may yet be seen, as in the case of her 
institutions, customs, faith, and forms in Art, so in Architecture, 
Ireland points to origins of noble things. The light she throws 


upon history resembles those reflected lights in nature, so 
precious to the landscape painter, which blend in prismatic chords 
of colour, the coldest gray above, with the warmest hues beneath. 
In the history of Christian thought and Art, the early rays that, 
penetrating from the South, awoke the cold North to warmer life, 
are again brought to bear on the source whence they originally 

FIG. I. 



PRESENTING the following Manual 
of the Archaeology of Ireland, the writer's 
object is to indicate how far the know- 
ledge of her native arts in the past may 
subserve to their higher development in 
the future. It is only by adherence to 
a certain system of study and method 
of treatment, that this result can be 
looked for. The object is not to pre- 
sent a guide to the antiquities of Ireland, 
but rather to indicate how these anti- 
quities should be approached, so as to 
draw forth whatever elements of instruc- 
tion may lie hidden in them for workers in the present day. 

The arts in which Christian Ireland excelled before the 
thirteenth century were, the writing and ornamentation of 
MSS., metal-work, stone-cutting, and building. It is therefore 
for those who practise these handicrafts in the present day, that 
we hope to show the advantage of a close study of such of these 
ancient writings, relics, and monuments as have, through the 
energy and learning of our antiquaries, been discerned and 
preserved for our instruction. Two distinct benefits may be 
drawn from this pursuit, the first being the development among 

FIG. 2. 


our illuminators, goldsmiths, and stone-cutters of a higher 
standard of technical execution, of precision and delicacy of 
finish, than exists in the present day; the second and larger 
benefit, that of indicating to a designer or architect where he 
may find the salient points in works of ancient Irish Art, which 
distinguish it from that of other countries, which give it a native 
character, and which, when once fully grasped, he can seize and 
graft upon his own design. Thus he is enabled to take up the 
threads of the too early broken web of his country's arts, and 
weaving them into his own work, he can add the distinction of 
an individual and native character to the forms of its future 

The first art, that of the scribe, was indeed carried to mar- 
vellous perfection in Ireland, but since, owing to the invention of 
printing, this is no longer an honoured handicraft, it may be 
questioned whether the study of Irish writing can be of use to 
the worker of the present day. Still the story of the O of Giotto 
shows how important technical skill was considered in the days 
of great religious Art* To draw a perfect circle, unaided by the 
compasses, is a feat only to be accomplished by an eye and hand 
in perfect training and obedience to the artist's will. Such circles 
are to be seen in every page of the " Book of Kells." There is 
no instance of a letter O, in the large round lettering of this book, 
in which the slightest sign of a swerving hand is perceptible. 

" Writing/' says Dr. Reeves, " formed a most important part 
of the monastic occupations." Besides the supply of service- 
books for the numerous churches that sprang into existence, and 
which probably were without embellishment, great labour was 
bestowed upon the ornamentation of some manuscripts, especially 

* When the messenger of Pope Benedict IX. came to Florence, he re- 
quested Giotto to give him a drawing to send to his Holiness as a sample of 
his powers. Giotto, who was very courteous, took a sheet of paper and a 
pencil dipped in a red colour ; then, resting his elbow on his side, with one 
turn of his hand he drew a circle, so perfect and exact that it was a marvel 
to behold. (See Vasari, " Lives of the Artists," Ed. Bohn, vol. i. p. 102.) 


the sacred writings ; these are wonderful monuments of the con- 
ceptions, skill, and patience of the scribes of the seventh century. 
Codex A of Adamnan's " Life of Columba " is a fine specimen 
of the ordinary Latin hand (a peculiar heavy hand) of the Scotic 
scribe, which is of earlier date than the "Book of Armagh." The 
penmanship of the Irish scribes is known to have exercised a 
considerable influence on that of the Continent from the time of 
its first introduction by the Irish missionaries, which continued 
to prevail till *"-' ^>">r"-.: n IP<-I sr. l :. ( f--^!:p '-n^ries. '>r r^^ 
monks instructed their disciples in the technicalities of this art, 
such as the manner of holding the pen, the preparation of ink, 
and indeed the whole process of writing, the results of which are 
of exquisite beauty. The writing apparatus consisted of tabul 
or waxen tablets, graphia or styles, calami or pens, made of 
goose-quills or crow-quills, and the ink used was carbonaceous, 
not mineral. The parchment, as compared with that made use 
of in France from the seventh till the tenth century, was for the 
most part much thicker. It is often finely polished, but more 
frequently horny and dirty. On the whole, these scribes do not 
appear to have attained much perfection in the preparation of 
the skins, with which they were supplied by their goats, sheep, 
and calves. That they were not very lavish in the use of their 
parchment is shown by the number of perforated leaves that 
occur in their books. The thick ink in use is remarkable for its 
blackness and durability. It often resists the action of chemical 
tests of iron, and seems not to have been made of the ingredients 
commonly used for the purpose. The red colour which is so 
often met with is mixed with a thick varnish or gummy sub- 
stance, which has preserved it not only from sinking in but also 
from fading. Several colours, such as the yellows, are laid on 
transparent, and very thin and fluid ; others have a thick body, 
consisting of a triturated earth or some skilfully prepared 
material, and a strong binding medium. Bede, speaking of the 
colours prepared in Britain, especially notices the brilliancy and 


permanence of the red. In the following passage he says 
{"Eccl. Hist," Bk. I. c. i.): "It has many kinds of shell-fish, such 
as mussels, in which are often found excellent pearls of all 
colours, red, purple, violet, and green, but mostly white. There 
is also a great abundance of cockles, of which the scarlet colour 
is made a most beautiful colour, which never fades with the 
heat of the sun or the washing of the rain ; but the older it is, 
the more beautiful it becomes.'"' He also notes in the following 
page, that such virtue lay in the books of the Irish missionaries 
that the mere "scrapings of their leaves that were brought out of 
Ireland, if put into water and swallowed, were an antidote to the 
poison of serpents." The extraordinary neatness of the hand- 
writing, and its firm character, have led several English anti- 
quaries to express opinions as to the writing instruments which 
were used by the Irish monks. The notion that they employed 
'extremely sharp metallic pens is quite untenable. Ferdinand 
Keller holds that their writing implements were neither reeds nor 
skilfully formed tools, but the quills of swans, geese, crows, and 
other birds. This is proved by several pictures in Irish MSS., 
where the Evangelist, engaged in writing his Gospel, holds in his 
hand a pen, the feather of which can be clearly perceived. The 
inkstand is also represented as a simple slender conical cup, 
fastened either to the arm of the chair, or upon a small stick on 
the ground. 

HE character in which the Irish scribes 
wrote resembles that employed in 
Latin MSS. of the Romance countries 
of the fifth and sixth centuries. Such 
letters occur in the oldest Lombardic and 
Gallic manuscripts. They had two forms 
of handwriting: the minuscule, or round 
FIG. 3.'"" hand, and the more angular running hand. 

The finest MSS. of the Gospels, such as the " Book of Kells," 


approach the round uncial writing; while the small and delicate 
style of such writing as that of the "Book of Armagh/' has more 
analogy to the running hand. 

Ferdinand Keller remarks : " The character of the uncial 
writing, from the roundness and graceful curve of the lines, 
acquires a softness very pleasing to the eye, as contrasted with 
the Frankish style, which presents more angularity, gradually 
passing into the stiffness and abruptness of what is called the 
Gothic style. Moreover, the symmetry of this kind of handwriting 
is remarkable, as exhibited in the distance of the several letters from 
each other, and in their well-proportioned height. The shading 
and tinting of the different letters is also managed with much 
skill and taste. The running hand, for which a tolerably elastic 
pen was used, seems, notwithstanding its regularity, to have been 
written with freedom and ease. . . . On the whole," this writer 
adds, speaking of the excellence of this school of caligraphy, " it 
attained a high degree of cultivation, which certainly did not 
result from the genius of single individuals, but from the emula- 
tion of numerous schools of writing, and the improvements of 
several generations. There is not a single letter in the entire 
alphabet which does not give evidence, both in its general form 
and its minuter parts, of the sound judgment and taste of the 

Sixty-one remarkable scribes are named in the "Annals of 
the Four Masters" as having flourished in Ireland before the 
year 900 forty of whom lived between A.D. 700 and 800. In 
the year 434 we read that at the request of Patrick "the History 
and Laws of Ireland were purified and written, the writings and 
old books of Ireland having been collected and brought to one 
place." In the "Life of Columba" (b. A.D. 521, d. 597), we learn 
that diligence in writing was one characteristic of the saint, as 
well as of his successor, Dorbene, Abbot of lona, and the title 
of scribe is frequently used to enhance the dignity of a bishop. 
The belief that the " Book of Kells " was the work of Columba 


himself cannot be sustained. The tradition seems to have arisen 
from the fact that, at the date 1006, the book is mentioned in the 
Irish Annals as the great Gospel of Columb of the church. It 
probably was so named, not because Coiumba wrote the book or 
executed its marvellous decorations, but because it was the copy 
of the four Gospels used in the church of Kells, which church 
was founded by Coiumba. In judging of the age of MSB. of 
the Holy Scripture, various considerations enter into the account : 
and the questions we should put to a manuscript of such tradi- 
tionally great antiquity are : ist, as to the version of the Scrip- 
ture it contains- 2nd, the orthography; 3rd, the style of 
writing 4th, the nature of the vellum ; 5th, the kind of ink 
used. Against conclusions drawn from these evidences no tradi- 
tion can stand, and it is the opinion of such antiquaries as Dr. 
Reeves, who have put these tests to this book, that it cannot be 
assigned to so early a period as from A.D. 521 to 597. On the 
other hand, all authorities will agree in the belief that the " Book 
of Kells " is an older book, and, as it were, the parent of such a 
work as "St. Cuthbert's Gospels" now in the British Museum (Nera 
D. IV.), written by Eadfrith A.D. 698-721, and illuminated by 
Ethelwald his contemporary. It is quite in harmony with other 
information we possess, as to the skill of Irish writers of the 
seventh and eighth centuries, to hold that the "Book of Kells' 7 may 
have been illuminated at the close of the seventh century, and 
one of the scribes engaged on this work may have been Ethel- 
wald's teacher. Among the names of Saxon students who visited 
Ireland before the eighth century we find that of Eadfrith, and 
there is ground for belief that St. Cuthbert was of Irish birth > 
who, after the manner of Irishmen abroad, changed his name 
of Cudrig to Cuthbert It is stated by Ware, in his " Life of 
Matthew O'Heney," a Cistercian monk, and Archbishop of 
Cashel A.D. 1 1 94, that this ecclesiastic was author of a life of St 
Cuthbert, who was born at Kenanus (Kells), and who migrated 
to Melrose, where he remained under Eata and Boisillus, abbots > 


until he was consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarne in 684. He also 
quotes an entry in the "Annals of St. Mary," where it is stated that 
St. Cuthbert was born four miles from Dublin 3 at Kilmocudrig, 
on Kilmashogue Mountain. 

NOTHER argument against assigning the 
"Book of Kells" to so early a date as the 
middle of the sixth rr-iinj; -nny be f^nnd 
in :he very perfection of the writing and 
elaborate detail of the art that adorns its 
pages. It is most improbable that such 
work could have been executed at a period 
when the Church in Ireland had not had 
FIG. 4. time to settle down into quiet, indispen- 

sable for the production of such works; and it may be said 
that such a life as that which St. Columba seems to have led, 
was incompatible with the execution of writings so perfect. 
He was an active, hard-working missionary, who could not have 
led the sedentary life required to form the hand and eye which 
could carry out this work. Another argument against this book 
being contemporaneous with Columba, is found in the fact that 
it is a copy of the Hieronymian version of the Gospels, which 
version was not adopted in Ireland at that early date. In 
Adamnan's "Life of Columba," the quotations from Scripture 
which occur are not of the same version as the " Book of Kells," 
but are drawn from an older one in use before St. Jerome's re- 
vised version had become generally used in these countries. The 
words, Liber Generations Christi, at the opening of the Gospel of 
St. Matthew, form the subject of six pages which are the most 
wonderful examples of illumination in this MS. At the close of 
the preface to the Gospel, the first is devoted to the four evan- 
gelical symbols, framed in a highly ornamented border ; in this 
page we see a figure probably representing St. Matthew ; in that 
following, we have the words Liber Generations, which occupy 


an entire folio. Next comes a picture of Christ, His hand raised 
in benediction ; this is followed by a page of merely ornamental 
work, and then the whole series is crowned by the name of 
Christ, x P I. In these six pages there is a gradual increase of 


splendour, the culminating point of which is reached in this 
monogram of Christ, and upon it is lavished with all the fervent 
devotion of the Irish scribe, every variety of design to be found 
in Celtic Art, so that the name which is the epitome of his faith, 
is also the epitome of his country's Art. (See Figs. 5 and 8.) 


We shall give a list of these designs, as they will serve to explain 
-the characteristic forms of Art in this school ; they are 


(treated conventionally). 

1. Divergent spiral or trumpet pattern. I. Foliage. 

2. The Triquetra. 2. Fish. 

3. Interlaced bands. 3. Reptiles. 

4. Knot work. 4. Buds. 

5. Eight varieties of gammadion. 5- Man. 

6. Chevron and rectilinear patterns. 6. Quadrupeds. 

In the monogram page of the "Book of Kells" we find a group 
>of squirrels watching their young at play with a round cake 
marked with a cross. The trefoil called in parts of France and 
Italy, "Pain du bon Dieu/ 5 and " Alleluleia," seems the only 
vegetable form in use, unless a star-like design, which is a con- 
stant feature in Celtic decoration, may be held to signify a flower. 
The other foliate patterns are mere conventional arrangements 
of leaves for ornamental purposes. The tree of knowledge is 
constantly seen on the Irish crosses of the tenth century, but 
its branches and stem are arranged so as to form a border 
in a series of wreathed and flowing lines resembling borders in 
the "Book of Kells." 

One exception, however, may be made to the above remarks 
in the instances of the flower sceptres, which are occasionally 
found in the hands of Christ and the angels in the "Book of Kells/' 
and on the crosses. In such scenes as the triumph of Christ, 
and the glorification of the Virgin, this beautiful idea of the 
blossoming sceptre occurs. It appears in the hand of Christ on 
the cross of Clonmacnois, in St. Matthew's hand in the "Book of 
Kells," as well as with many of the angels represented in that 
book. Mr. Ruskin remarks that the roots of leaf ornament in 
Christian architecture are the Greek acanthus and the Egyptian 
lotus. (See "Stones of Venice/ 7 vol. i. p. 227.) 



trace of the acanthus 
has ever been found as the 
basis of any Celtic foliate 
pattern. Something similar 
to the buds of the lotus 
does occur in the "Book 
of Kells," but never the 
acanthus. The vine and the 
trefoil are rather the roots 
of all Irish leaf ornament, 
and both these plants have 
borne a meaning in Chris- 
tian symbolism. 

The fish occurs once 
in the mouth of some 

strange animal. Serpents, 
lizards, birds with legs and necks elongated 
and interlaced, are found in every part of 
the great monogram page of the " Book of 
Kells," while the human form is seen in four 
weird figures, whose bodies are entangled 
with those of birds, and who are blowing 
trumpets, which instruments are elongated 
so as to entwine the musicians in their in- 
extricable coils. Three angels bearing 
books, and one holding a sceptre crowned 
by a trefoil in each hand, are seen to rest 
with outspread wings upon the main line of 
the letter X, while in the centre of the P a 
man's face appears, bearded but not aged, 
and above all, and, as it were, emerging 
from a labyrinth of spiral lines, diverging 
and converging in endless succession, rises 
the veiled head of a woman. (See Fig. 8.) 


No copy of such a work as this can convey an idea of 
the perfection of execution shown in the original; for, as with 


the skeleton of a leaf or with any microscopic work of nature, 
the stronger the magnifying power brought to bear upon it, 
the more is this perfection revealed. 


ETTERS from the "Book of 
Kells" have been used as initials 
in various places in this work. 
These, and the accompanying 
illustrations, will give a fair idea 
of the character of the illumi- 
nated initial letters which appear 
throughout the manuscript. 
Among them are two forms of A, 
and two also of B, one C, one 
M, one R, one T, and two in- 
of illumi- 
nated lig- 
IM and 
Two por- 
tions of 
the great 
page are 

given here, but the size of the present volume unfortunately 
precludes the possibility of giving more than a small extract 
from each page. The whole design may be seen in full in 
vol. vi. of " Vetusta Monumenta." 

From the school in which such work as this was produced, it 
is natural to suppose many branches sprang. In Ireland we 
have the " Book of Durrow " in King's Co., a fragment of the 
Gospels, also said to be in the handwriting of Columba, and in 
which there are illuminations of the same style of Art, though 
inferior in beauty of execution.* In this manuscript at the 

* The specimen given in Fig. 9 is the page preceding the Epistle of 

FIG. 8. 


close of the first and apparently the oldest portion, we find the 
usual request of the Irish scribe for a prayer from the reader 
which, when translated, runs thus : 

" I pray thy blessedness, O holy presbyter, Patrick, that who- 
soever shall take this book into his hands may remember the 
writer, Columba, who have myself written this Gospel in the space 
of twelve days by the grace of our Lord." 

The ancient cumdach or shrine of this book has long been 
missing, but a copy of the inscription is preserved, and may be 
thus translated : 

"The Prayer and Benediction of St. Columkill be upon Flann 
the son of Malachi, king of Ireland, who caused this cover to be 

Flann, son of Malachi, was king of Ireland, who reigned A.D. 
879-916, so that we see this book was associated with the name 
of Columba, and venerated accordingly so early as the close of 
the ninth century. Another curious point connected with the 
antiquity of the book is the fact that in the miniature of the 
ecclesiastic at the end of the volume, the Irish tonsure, and not 
the Roman, is represented. We know that the Roman tonsure 
was introduced in the year 718, when it was first adopted by the 
community at lona. The Irish tonsure, across the head " from 
ear to ear," was derived from St. Patrick, the Roman was in the 
form of a crown. Nevertheless we can hardly maintain that this 
book is as old as St. Columba's date, since the version of Scrip- 
ture contained in it is not the same as that in use in Ireland in 
the sixth century, portions of which are quoted in the life of the 
saint, but is St. Jerome's version. 

There are fewer varieties of design in this book than in the 
"Book of Kells," but those it does display belong to the most 
characteristic and archaic style of Irish Christian Art. Such are 
the patterns of right lines described by Humboldt as " rythmical 
patterns, which characterise the ornamentation of many nations 

Jerome in this volume, and offers a fine example of the Celtic design, called 
trumpet pattern or divergent spiral. 




in a certain state of civilisation." The divergent spiral or trumpet 
pattern, and diagonal patterns, along with' those of a later style 
formed of interlaced bands, animals, etc., are the prevailing 
designs here. There is no sign of any vegetable forms being 
used. The book was preserved at Durrow, a small town in the 
barony of Ballycowen, where St. Columba founded an abbey A.D. 
546. At the Reformation this book was given to the library of 
Trinity College, Dublin. 

N the Annals of Clonmacnois the translator, Connell 
Mageoghegan, has alluded to the belief in Ireland 
respecting the peculiar property of St. Columba ? s MSS. 
in resisting the influence of moisture, in which 
he refers to the " Book of Durrow": 

" He, i.e. Columba, wrote 300 books 
with his own hand. They were all New 
Testaments ; he left a book to each of his 
churches in the kingdom, which books 
have a strange property, which is, that if 
they, or any of them, had sunk to the 
bottom of the deepest waters, they would 
not lose one letter, or sign, or character of 

them, which I have seen tried, partly by myself 
on that book of them which is at Dorowe 
(Durrow) in the King's Co., for I saw the 
ignorant man that had the same in his custodie, 
when sickness came on cattle, for their remedy, 
put water on the book and suffer it to rest 
therein; and saw also cattle return thereby to 
their former state ; and the book receive no loss." 
However marvellous was the skill of the 
scribe of the "Book of Kells," or that of the 
Columba who, in the "Book of Durrow," tells 
us that he executed his work in the space 
of twelve days, none surpassed Ferdom- 


nach, the scribe of the " Book of Armagh." His death, in the 
year 844, is recorded in the "Annals of the Four Masters," and 
the entry is so worded as to lead to the conclusion that, even at 
this, the finest period of Irish Art, his powers were remarkable. 
This entry is as follows : "A.IX 844, Ferdomnach, a sage and choice 
scribe of the Church of Armagh, died." 

We may instance as one remarkable specimen of this writer's 
skill the folio 103, where the central portion of the text is written 
in semi-cursive letters, in the shape of a diamond. The volume 
contains four uncoloured drawings of the Evangelical symbols. 
After folio 104 the capital letters are slightly coloured, yellow, 
red, green, and black. In design and execution, these ornamental 
portions equal if they do not in some points surpass the grace 
and delicate execution of the letters in the i; Book of Kells." 

To these examples of Irish illuminated books of the seventh 
and eight centuries we may now add certain portions in the Stowe 
Missal. This book is written in two different hands, and there 
may be the space of two centuries between the ages of the writing. 
The oldest half is written in a large Lombardic handwriting, and 
the other, which is of later date, in a minuscule in the manner of 
a palimpsest. 

This MS. contains a copy of St. John's Gospel ; a Missal ; a 
tract on the ceremonies of the Mass ; and three Irish spells. At 
the close of St. John's Gospel is a representation of the Evangelist 
with his eagle above him. The figure is apparently seated, the 
back of his seat appearing behind. Another ornamented page 
shows a zoomorphic lacertine border, and another with zigzag 
designs which, though much inferior in execution, yet resembles 
some of the work in the " Book of Armagh." 

The Gospel closes with the transcriber's name in the following 
passage (folio i2a) : 

" Deo gratias ago. Amen. Finit. Amen. 

" Rogo quicumque hunc librum legeris, ut memmeris mei peccatoris, 
scriptoris, i. * Sonid ' (Dinos) peregrinus. Amen, Sanus qui scripsit et cui 
scriptuw est. Amen." 


The name Sonid is here written from left to right in Ogham 
characters. This name has not been met with elsewhere by Irish 
scholars. It would seem from the context to mean Sanus. Another 
name is found in the colophon to the Ordinary and Canon of the 
Mass. " Moelcaich scripsit." The name of St. Mochonne, who 
died A.D. 714, occurs in the " Commemoratio pro Defunctis," and 
that of Mochta, as well as Maelruain, probably the Bishop of 
Tallaght, are among the bishops and priests invoked at the end 
of the prayer of St. Ambrose. Two saints named Mochta are 
known to have lived in Ireland, one who died A.D. 922 at his 
church of Inis-Mochta, now Inishmot in the county of Meath; 
the death of the elder is recorded A.D. 534. St. Mochta of 
Louth was probably the Maucteus named in the Annals of 
Ulster at A.D. 471, 511, 527, and St. Maelruain was the Bishop of 
Tallaght who died A.D. 792. His church within three miles of 
Dublin was called Tamlacht Maelruain. 

The mention of this Bishop Maelruain, who lived in the latter 
half of the eighth century, among the departed saints com- 
memorated in the earlier part of the Stowe Missal, overthrows the 
theory of the extreme antiquity of this manuscript put forward 
by some writers, who would attribute part of the composition and 
handwriting to the fifth century, and part to the seventh and 

It was written after the years 590, or 604, for it contains the 
clause "diesque nostros numeravi," which was added to the 
Liturgy by Gregory the Great at that time. It was written after 
the year 589, when the Nicene Creed which occurs here was 
introduced. Also it must be later than the year 627, since 
Justus, Archbishop of Canterbury, who died at that date, is 
invoked in the '* Commemoratio pro Defunctis," and later than 687 
since it prescribes the use of the "Agnus Dei," said to have been 
introduced by Sergius I. between the years 687 and 701. 

The second list of departed saints contains the names of 
several persons who lived in the seventh and eighth centuries, such 


as the Archbishops of Canterbury, Lawrence, and Mellitus, as 
well as the Irish Mochonna and Maelniain already mentioned. 

It appears that certain improvements were made in the 
Roman Missal in the tenth or beginning of the eleventh century, 
in the days of Berno, who was Abbot of Cluny in 927, and 
who died about 1047. These improvements were adopted by 
the Irish at the Synod of Kells, A.D. 1152, and as they are 
wanting in the Stowe Missal we may consider it as the one in 
use before that date. 

The whole volume, writes Mr. Warren, is replete with such 
transcendent palseographical and liturgical interest that every 
sentence, almost every word in the MS. invites lengthy historical 
and antiquarian annotation. The same writer, in a letter to the 
Academy (April 23, 1887, No. 781, p. 291), is of opinion that 
tiie older handwriting of this Missal should be attributed to a date 
subsequent to 792, and is gradually drawn to the conclusion that 
the Irish portions of the MS. cannot have been written before 
the tenth centur}, and were probably transcribed in the eleventh 
or twelfth. If so, the initial (fol. i2 a ) is probably copied by an 
inferior hand from an original perhaps two centuries older, and 
this would explain the incongruity between the style, which 
belongs to the finest period of Irish illumination that of the 
Book of Armagh and the execution, which is comparatively 
careless and defective. The divergent spiral and zigzag patterns 
of the eighth and ninth centuries had gone out of fashion in the 

The " Book of Dimma " is a copy of the Gospels, formerly 
said to have been written in the seventh century, as it contains 
the scribe's autograph at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew : 

Finit. Oroit do Dimmu rod scrib pro Deo et benedictione. 

Finit. A prayer for Dimma, who wrote it for God, and a blessing. 

And again, at the close of the Gospel of St. John, we read : 
Finit. Amen. *J< Dimma Mace. Nathi. >Jl 


This Dimma was believed to have been the scribe mentioned 
in the "Life of St. Cronan," who lived A.D. 634, as employed by him 
to write a copy of the Gospels. The book belonged to the Abbey 
of Roscrea, founded by Cronan. It was enshrined in the middle 
of the twelfth century by order of Tatheus O'Carroll, chieftain of 
Ely O' Carroll. The shrine with its precious enclosure disappeared 
at the time of the dissolution of monasteries. It was found by 
boys hunting rabbits in the year 1789, among the rocks of the 
Devil's Bit Mountain, in the county of Tipperary, carefully pre- 
served and concealed. The boys who discovered it tore off 
the silver plate, and picked out some of the lapis-lazuli with 
which it was studded. They feared to touch the side of the 
shrine, on which they found the representation of the Passion. 
It then came into possession of Dr. Harrison of Nenagh, and 
having passed through the hands of Mr. Monck Mason and Sir 
William Betham and Dr. Todd, was finally purchased for the 
Library of Trinity College, Dublin. 

The '' Book of St. Moling " was formerly held to have been 
written in the seventh century, since it contains the name of a 
scribe which corresponds with that of the saint, who was Bishop 
of Ferns, A.D. 600. At the end of the Gospel of St. John the 
following note occurs : 

$init. Amen, (fruit 
O tu quicunque scripseris 
vel scrutatus pueris, vel etiam 
Videris hoc volumen Deum oia 

per clinosum mondi 

usque altissimum 

(nom) en autem scriptoris. Mulling 
dicitur. Finiunt quatuor evangel u. 

This volume contains the four Gospels in Latin with a 
formulary for the " Visitation of the Sick, ''written in double columns 
in a neat minuscule character, and Mr. Gilbert has observed 
that a colophon in semi-Greek characters somewhat similar to 


but larger than those in this manuscript, is to be found in the 
Irish copy of Adamnan's "Life of Columba," transcribed in the 
eighth century, and now extant at Schaffhausen. Each Gospel 
commences with the first word, or its first letters of a large 
size, not coloured, but with double marginal rows of red dots. 
Figures of the Evangelists precede their respective Gospels, each 
figure holding a book, and one with a pen and inkstand by his 
side. They have the circular nimbus, and one has long hair 
falling on his shoulders. This book, with its ancient case, or 
cumdach, has been from early ages venerated in Leinster, and 
has descended to us from the ninth or tenth century in the care 
of its hereditary keepers, whose representatives in the Kavanagh 
family of Borris in the county of Carlow, deposited it in the 
Library of Trinity College, Dublin. 

The " Garland of Howth" is a copy of the four Gospels which 
had been preserved down to the time of Ussher in the church on 
Ireland's Eye, near Howth, anciently called Inis mac Nessain. 
Ussher states that in his time there was a small clasp or tongue 
(linguld) of silver attached to the book, on which was inscribed 
the name of St. Talman, but does not state who this Talman was. 
All traces of this clasp have long since disappeared, the book 
having unfortunately been rebound about sixty years ago, when 
it suffered considerably. The art of the decorations in this book 
is larger and bolder than we usually meet with in Irish MSS. 
No spirals are introduced or rectangular designs. Nothing but 
interlaced ornament. The colours are green, red, and yellow. 

The frontispiece to the Gospel of St. Matthew contains the 
monogram of the word x~P~T Christi autem Gene(ratio) in large 
uncial letters two angels enveloped in wings appear above the 
figures of the evangelist Matthew and an ecclesiastic, who holds 
in his right hand what appears to be a sword, and in his left a 
book. Both figures are seated, the first having the feet bare and 
crossed, the second with buskins, the soles of his feet meeting. 
The angel above the first figure is represented as wearing curls 


while the angel over the beardless figure has the hair concealed 
under a sort of cap or cowl: the sword-shaped object, held in the 
right hand of the second figure, probably represents tablets, such 
as were brought by the first missionaries into Ireland. If this be 
so, we have here an explanation of an anecdote in the " Book of 
Armagh." (See Todd's "St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland," p. 509 n.a.) 
St. Patrick with eight or nine companions having in their hands 
* v tablets after the manner of Moses " (i.e. like the Tables of the 
Law), had reached some distant part of Ireland ; the pagan natives 
of the country mistook these tablets, or pretended to mistake 
them, for swords, and to turn the people against the missionaries 
the Druids cried out that Patrick and his company had swords 
in their hands, swords of iron, not of wood, and were come with 
murderous intent to shed blood. The tablets must have been 
long and narrow to render this mis-statement plausible. 

The figure in the frontispiece to St. Mark's Gospel is probably 
intended for the Evangelist, whose symbol, the winged lion, is 
seen among the ornaments above. The figure kneels at a 
lectern, his hands clasped in prayer, and supporting a closed 
book. The face is beardless ; the head is covered with a blue 
cowl and surrounded by a nimbus. The letters, by which this 
figure is surrounded, are the first words of the Gospel of St. 
Mark in square uncial letters. 

INItium. eva(ngelii). 

The " Psalter of Ricemarch " is a manuscript of the eleventh 
century written by Ricemarch, Rhyddmarch, or Rhydderch, 
Bishop of St. David's, who succeeded his father Sulgen in the 
same See in 1089, and died himself in 1096. Judging from the 
character of the handwriting, as Dr. Todd observes, he must 
have -received his education in Ireland. The pages are 
ornamented with initials and borders in red, yellow, and green, 
birds and serpents, their bodies elongated and interlaced. Some 
traces of silver appeared in the ornamentation of the word DNE. 


A curious later poem at the end of the book closes with the 
words, " Ithsel, whose name makes learning golden, aided me in 
writing this book; I, Ricemarch, am called Sulgenson by my 
family name, and the brother of John. Psalmorum pro ceres 
depinxit rite Johannes, 1 '" meaning that the initial letters of the 
Psalms were illuminated by John. The last two lines of this 
poem have been thus read by Dr. Todd : " May he be inscribed 
on the jewel which is on the breast of the High Priest, may the 
picture of the cherubim of the temple receive him under their 
wings." This manuscript formerly belonged to Dr. William 
Bedell, Bishop of Kilmore, by whom it was at first lent, and 
afterwards (as it seems) given to Archbishop Ussher. It is now 
preserved among the Ussher MSS. in Trinity College, Dublin. 

The "Irish Antiphonary," or Book of Hymns, is a beautiful MS., 
which has been assigned to the ninth or tenth century, as we 
learn from Dr. Todd, who states that " it preserves to us a con- 
siderable portion of the ritual of the Church of Ireland, as it 
existed before the English conquest, and before the attempt to 
establish uniformity with the Church of England by the in- 
troduction of the Salisbury use into Ireland, in the twelfth 
century." The ornamental initials, with which the various hymns 
commence, though less delicate in design and execution than 
those of the Books of Kells and of Armagh, are still of a fine and 
original character, as may be seen from the accompanying 
illustrations, examples of the letters A, C, L, M, S, and the 
two forms of IN conjoined.* 

From Ireland the practice of this art spread side by side 
with religion to lona, thence to Melrose, Lindisfarne; and, 
distinct as its character is from the Art of the Teutonic nations, 
it was henceforward misnamed Anglo-Saxon in England, while 
on the Continent it was termed either Anglo-Saxon or Scottish. 
It is only of late that writers on the subject have learned that 

* The initial L (Fig. 40, p. 103) is copied from the vellum MS. (H. 2. 16, 
col. 281) in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. 


North Britain (to the south-western portions of which the names 
Alba and Pictland were also given) was not termed Scotland 
till the close of the ninth century \ whereas the island of Ireland 
had borne the name of Scotia for many centuries before. It 
was in 503 that a colony from Ulster settled in Pictland or 
Alba, and there founded a kingdom which, in the ninth century, 
under Kenneth MacAlpin, enlarged its territories, and the whole 
kingdom was called Scotia or Scotland, after the name of the 
race who had migrated into it from Ireland. The confusion 
of this Scotic or Irish Art with Anglo-Saxon arose from the 
fact that MSS. written in Anglo-Saxon were often illuminated 
either by Irish artists or by monks who had learned their art 
in Ireland. 

The fame of one of the many Irish scribes who worked 
in England in the eighth century, or perhaps even earlier, 
has been preserved for us in a poem written at the beginning 
of the ninth century. This scribe was named Ultan, and the 
fact that his relics were sought for their miraculous efficacy 
is, at all events, evidence that Ultan must have lived and died 
a considerable time before the year when the poem was written ; 
for it is there related that, when for a long time the earth had 
consumed his body, a certain brother in the monastery sent 
for the bones " of that arm of the father with which he worthily 
depicted the mystical words of our Lord, that through its power 
he might be restored." This poem on the miracles of Father 
Ultan, was addressed by Ethel wolf, monk of Lindisfarne, to 
Bishop Egbert, then in Ireland, during the reign of Osred, 
King of Northumbria (A.D. 802-891). "Fame proclaims," says 
Ethelwolf, " that many live a perfect life, of which number is 
he who is called by the renowned name of Ultan. This man 
was a blessed priest of the Scotic nation, who could adorn 
little books with elegant designs, and so rendered life a pleasant 
kind of the highest ornaments. In this Art no modern scribe 
could rival him, nor is it to be wondered at if a worshipper of 


the Lord could do such things, since the Holy Spirit, as an 
inspirer, guides his fingers and raises his devout mind to the 

That the Irish school of illumination continued for some 
centuries to exist in the North of England is abundantly 
proved by the numerous MSS. preserved in the libraries of the 
British Museum, Lambeth Palace, the Bodleian, Oxford, Corpus 
Christi, St. John's College, and the University Library, 
Cambridge, as well as the cathedral libraries of Lichfield and 
Durham. These have been so well described and illustrated 
by the antiquaries of England that it will suffice to give a list of 
references to their works at the end of the next chapter. 

* See Mabillon, ec Acta SS., Ord. Bened.," iv. par. ii. 317-335. 



regards the literature of ancient Ireland and 
its remains, it has been observed by 
Dr. Reeves that in this country we have 
to deplore the merciless rule of 
barbarism, which swept away all 
domestic evidences of advanced 
learning, leaving scarcely anything on 
record at home but legendary lore, 
and has compelled us to draw from foreign 
depositaries the materials on which to rest 
the proof that Ireland of old was really en- 
titled to that literary eminence which national 
feeling lays claim to. Our annals generally ignore the 
existence of those Irish ecclesiastics who went abroad, 
such as Gall, the founder of a monastery in Switzer- 
land; Columbanus, of another at Bobio, in North 
Italy; Cataldus, of Tarentum, in South Italy; Fiachra and 
Fridolin, in France ; and Coloman and Kilian, in Germany and 
Bavaria ; not one of whom are mentioned in our annals. The 
exceptions to this rule are Fergil or Virgilius, of Salzburg, 
whose death in 788 is recorded ; Dunchadh, of Cologne, who 
died A.D. 813; Gilla-na-naemh Laighen, superior of the monastery 
of Wiirzburg, died A.D. 1085 ; Ailill, of Muckmore, who, in the 
year 1042, was head of the Irish monastery in Cologne; and 
Malachy, who was the friend of Bernard, and who died at 
Clairvaux, in 1148. Our knowledge of the crowds of Irish 


teachers and scribes who migrated to the Continent, and became 
founders of many monasteries abroad, is derived from foreign 
chronicles, and their testimony is borne out by the evidence of 
the numerous Irish MSS. and other relics of the eighth to the 
tenth century, occurring in libraries throughout Europe. 

The art by which these ornaments and books are decorated,, 
may be justly termed Irish as distinguished from the style upon 
which it was engrafted in the great books of the Carlovingian 
period, such as the Gospels of Charles the Bald. But when the 
first origin of this art in Ireland itself is discussed, the question 
should be approached with caution, since the very style we think 
original when found on the monuments that have outlived 
written history, may be proved, by subsequent research, to have 
prevailed elsewhere at a still earlier period, though the examples 
proving its existence are few and solitary. The inquiry, there- 
fore, into the history of the origin and development of Irish 
Art involves the question as to how far this style came on with 
the advancing tide of European civilisation spreading north-west, 
till it was stayed upon the Irish shore, and whether this Irish 
art, when introduced into that of the Carlovingian period on the 
Continent, was but a return wave of a style already becoming 
extinct in certain parts of Europe whence it originally came. 

The designs that prevailed in Ireland at the time of the 
introduction of Christianity can only be studied on her bronzes, 
and on the walls of such monuments as her tumuli, like New- 
Grange and Douth. They consist of spirals, zigzags, lozenges, 
circles, dots, etc., such as are common to all primitive people. 
In addition to these we have the divergent spiral or trumpet 
pattern, which design seems peculiar to the late Celtic inhabi- 
tants of these islands, though traces of it are also to be found 
belonging to a pre-Christian and very early period on the 
Continent. Interlacings (knotted animal and vegetable forms) 
are always confined to Christian antiquities in Ireland, and were 
introduced with Christianity. Even though the knowledge of 
letters may have reached Ireland at some short period before 


the coming of Patrick, it could not have been widely diffused. 
We know that the saint, on various occasions, is recorded as 
having taught the alphabet to such of his converts as were 
destined for holy orders; and when he and his followers coming 
from Gaul first appeared in the country, "carrying tablets in 
their hands written after the manner of Moses," the ignorant 
natives, as already quoted, mistook them for swords.* 

We have already seen that the character in which the Irish 
scribes wrote resembles that employed in the Latin MSS. of 
the Romance countries of the fifth century. It seems natural 
to look to these countries then for the origins of Irish Christian 
Art, but it is difficult to form any idea of what was the prevailing 
character of Christian Art in Southern Gaul in the fourth and 
fifth centuries. 

Certain passages in the writings of Gregory of Tours 
allude to mural decorations of churches, when Namatius, Bishop 
of Auvergne (A.D. 423), brought from Ravenna the relics of 
SS. Vital is and Agricola; he erected a church in Auvergne,f 
afterwards the cathedral of Clermont, in which to enshrine them. 
It is not improbable that Byzantine Art penetrated even at this 
early date through Ravenna to Gaul, and thence to Ireland in 
the following century. The vaulted roof of this church of 
Clermont is described as " wonderfully adorned with varieties 
of colours," and in a note we read of the mosaic work and 
plastering work, both varied and complicated, with which it 
was decorated, while the walls of "the church were covered, or 
rather veneered with marble. Again, it is stated that when 
the Bishop found the basilica of St. Perpetuus consumed by 

* See Todd, " Patrick, Apostle of Ireland." 

t " Hodie ecclesia S. Eutropii Suburbicarii ; in ea sepultus fuit Namatius 
cum aliis sanctis, ut indicat libellusde Sanctis Claromont," cap. 13. S. Greg. 
Turon., "Hist. Franc.," ii. 17 (Migne's note). "Sic Regm. Picturas in 
ecclesiis memorat passim Gregorius," ut lib. vii. cap. 36, lib. x. cap. ult, etc. 
''Hist. Eccles. Francorum," lib. ii. cap. xvii.; Patrologia Lat., t. Ixxi. 
col. 215, cap. 36. 


fire, he ordered its walls to be either painted or ornamented 
by the labour of his workmen, " in that splendour as they had 
been before." The same writer records how the aged widow of 
Bishop Namatius sat in the church she had raised over her hus- 
band's tomb, and read to the painter decorating its walls " stories 
of the deeds of men of old which he should set forth thereon." 

fTERLACED patterns and knot-work, 
strongly resembling Irish designs, are 
commonly met with at Ravenna, in 
the older churches of Lombardy, and 
at Sant' Abbondio, at Como, and not 
unfrequently appear in Byzantine MSS., 
while in the carvings on the Syrian 
churches of the second and third cen- 
turies, as well as the early churches of Georgia, 
such interlaced ornament is constantly used. 

As regards the drawing of the human face and 
figure in the pictures contained in the otherwise beau- 
tiful books of the Irish scribes, nothing more 
hideous or barbarous can be well conceived. Ferdi- 
nand Keller imagines they may be drawn from 
FIG. 12. na ture, but to us it seems more likely they are 
degraded forms, reminiscences of some Byzantine prototype, just 
as the representations of the evangelical symbols in the same 
books evidently are. 

These observations would lead us to conclude that in the 
Carlovingian MSS. of the ninth century we see not merely a 
mixture of styles, but that, in the introduction of Irish deco- 
ration, we have examples of the engrafting of an archaic style 
upon another of later date ; a style that had died out of Italy 
and Southern Gaul, but lived on in Ireland to return there 
centuries later. In Ireland its character had been modified 
by absorbing whatever designs such as the divergent spiral 
PART i. D 


prevailed in the country at the time of the introduction of 
Christianity, and thus modified, it was spread throughout 
Europe again by the Irish scribes, though it never prevailed 
outside their sphere, and finally died out with them, To the 
designer of the present day, who strives to adapt the ancient 
Irish forms to present uses, nothing could be more helpful than 
the study of these Carlo vingian MSS., since he will then see 
the very same effort he is himself striving to make carried out 
in much splendour and beauty. He should study for this 
purpose such works as the Latin Gospels in the National Library 
of Paris (No. 693), and the Sacramentarium of Pope Gregory 
the Great, in the Library of Rheims (No. 320). 

We have some interesting records of the aspect of the Irish 
monks who carried these books to the Continent. They seldom 
travelled otherwise than in companies. They wore long flowing 
hair, and coloured some parts of the body, especially the eyelids. 
They were provided with long walking-sticks, with flasks, and 
with leathern wallets. They used waxed writing tablets as well 
as skins. It is also stated that they were expert in catching fish 
and it appears from the biography of St. Gallus that they betook 
themselves to this pursuit when their sustenance demanded it. 

A lively picture of an Irish pilgrim of later times is given 
in the account of Abbot Samson, of St. Edmund's, who about 
the year 1161 undertook a journey to Rome at the time of the 
schism between Popes Alexander and Octavian : " I passed 
through Italy at the time when all clerics bearing letters from 
Pope Alexander were arrested, some of them imprisoned, some 
hanged, and others, after having their noses and lips cut off, 
sent back to the Pope, to his disgrace and confusion. But I 
pretended to be a Scot, and, having adopted the Scottish dress 
and behaviour, I shook my staff like the weapon called a 
'gaveloc' at those who scoffed at me, crying aloud in a 
threatening manner, after the manner of the Scots." He then 
goes on to relate how he was attacked on his way by servants 


O J 

from a certain castle, who laid hold upon him. He adds : "And 
whilst they were searching my clothes, my trousers, my hose, 
and even the old shoes which I carried on my shoulders, after 
the manner of the Scots, I put my hand into a skin wallet, 
where I carried the papers of my Lord the Pope, placed under 
a little cup that I had for drinking out of, and, by the favour 
of the Lord and St. Edmund, I took them out along with the 
cup, and, raising my arm aloft, I held them under the cup ; 
they saw the cup, indeed, but not the papers, so I escaped out of 
their hand in the name of the Lord." 

OUGH* as was their exterior, or even wild the 
outward appearance and manner of these mis- 
sionaries, we must not suppose that they were 
deficient in learning and accomplishments. 
They excelled in music as in painting and 
carving. Tuotilo, disciple of Moengal, an 
Irish monk of St. Gall, was, it is said, unsur- 
passed in all kinds of stringed instruments and 
pipes, and gave lessons in playing on them in a room 
set apart for him by the Abbot. Besides visiting 
FIG. 13. monasteries already established, they penetrated to 
places where Christianity had never before reached, not only to 
Poland and Bulgaria, but to Russia and Iceland, settling down 
as duty or inclination prompted them, and then, after their 
national manner, enclosing a large space, wherein they built 
their huts, and in the midst of which rose the church, with its 
round tower or belfry, which also served as a place of refuge 
in times of need.t 

The manuscripts which remain in Italy as evidence of 
the labours of the Irish monks in that country are to be seen in 

* This initial letter R is taken from " Book of Kells," fol. 92. 
t " Zeitschrift fur Christliche Archaologie und Kunst." Leip., 1856, 
pp. 21-49. 

D 2 


the Ambrosian Library in Milan, in the University Library of 
Turin, and in the Real Biblioteca Borbonica, Naples.* 

All these manuscripts are said to have been brought originally 
from Bobio, a monastery in Piedmont, founded by Columbanus 
in the year 6i3.t The old Irish Codex in the Ambrosian 
Library, Milan (C. 301), consists of a Latin commentary on the 
Psalms, formerly attributed to St. Jerome, but by Muratori 
Vallarsius and Zeuss ascribed to St. Columbanus; it contains 
notes and glosses in Irish of the eighth or ninth century, inter- 
lined or written in the margins. A fragment of the Antiphonary 
of Bangor, a monastery in Ireland where Columbanus lived for 
some time after he had been raised to the priesthood, is also 
preserved in this library. It contains a hymn in honour of 
St. Patrick, and is believed to have been one of the original 
books of the monastery. At Turin another collection of MSS., 
also from Bobio, may be seen in the University Library. They 
are two fragments of a commentary said to have been written by 
St. Jerome on the Gospel of St. Mark, a Latin sermon on the 
Assumption, a fragment in a very old Irish hand of St. Augustine's 
Enarrationes d.m. Psalm XCIIL, a fragment of the Epistles of 
Cyril of Alexandria, and a fragment of three commentaries on 
the Psalms, also six leaves containing various hymns, and the 
works of Lactantius, a teacher of rhetoric ir^Africa, about A.D. 306. 
In Rome, till within the last few years, there were about twenty 

* Real Biblioteca Borbonica of Naples. This latter MS. has been 
described by Angelo Antonio Scalli ("Memorie delle Regale Academia 
Ercolanse di Archseologia," vol. ii. p. 119, Naples, 1833) as a parchment 
codex, square in shape, and in many places defaced, written in double columns 
in the cursive character in use before the eighth century. Nothing further is 
known of its history than that it is inscribed " Liber Sancte Columbani" at 
the place where a fragment "De Metris" begins. This codex is not mentioned 
either in the Catalogue of the Library of Bobio published by Muratori, or 
in that compiled in 1461. It came into the Royal Library of Naples from the 
collection of Parrasio, who was a Calabrian y and who formed his collection 
from that of an old monastery in Calabria. 

t At Bobio the coffin, chalice, and holly-stick or crosier of St. Columbanus 
are still preserved, according to Moore " Hist. Ireland," p. 266. 


volumes of Gaelic MSS. which at one time formed part of the 
Louvain Collection,* and in the Vatican Library two MSS. from 
Mentz (Mayence), so long the residence of Marianus Scotus, 
may be seen one from St. Martin's being the copy of his 
chronicle containing his autograph (Vat. MSS., Palat. 830), the 
other the Psalter of the same monastery, sent to Rome in 1479. 
Besides giving his assumed name, Marianus, this entry also 
contains a memorandum of his native name, Maelbrigde, which 
has been edited in " Pertz's Monumenta," torn, v., by G. Waitz, 
from the Vatican MS. This chronicler, the pupil of the first Irish 
historian, Tighernach, of Moville, County Down, left Ireland in 
the year 1056, and entered the Scotic monastery at Cologne, 
after which he lived a long time at Fulda, and at last had himself 
immured as a recluse at St. Martin's, in Mentz, where in 
complete seclusion he worked out this chronicle. A miniature 
representing the Deposition from the Cross, interesting as showing 
the method in which this subject was treated in Germany in 
the eleventh century, adorns the pages of this manuscript. 

Such Irish foundations as that of Columbanus were for 
many centuries fed from their parent monasteries in Ireland, and 
in the ninth century and onwards it was not unusual to carry 
books abroad. Thus Dungal, the Scotic teacher in Pavia, 
A.D. 823, made donations of books to Bobio, a list of which is 
published by Muratori \ two of these we have already mentioned 
as now preserved in the Ambrosian Library, Milan. Again, in 
841, we learn that Marcus, an Irish bishop, and his nephew 
Moengal, returning from a pilgrimage to Rome, visited St. Gall, 
on Lake Constance, in Switzerland, and remaining there till 
death, Mark bequeathed his books to the monastery. Callus, 
the favourite and most honoured disciple of Columbanus, 
founded the monastery in the year 612. He was of Leinstei 
extraction, and died about the year 625. The Latin MSS., with 
Irish glosses from which Zeuss drew the material for the Irish 
* Now in the House of the Franciscan Order in Dublin. 


portion of his " Grammatica Celtica," are many of them adorned 
with miniatures and illuminated letters, Thus, in Codex No. 51, 
we have (I.) the figure of St. Matthew, seated, holding in his 
hand a book. He is beardless, and wears a peculiar cap. 
The angel, with hands clasped, presses a book to its breast. 
(II.) St. Mark, seated, holding a book; this has been confused 
with the representation of St. Luke which follows. St. Mark (if it 
be St. Mark) has the four evangelical symbols in the illuminated 
border by which he is surrounded. St. Luke has the winged ox 
above his head, is beardless, and holds a book; and St. John, 
also beardless and sitting, has the eagle above his head. Plates 
V. and VI. show the Crucifixion and the Last Judgment, and 
pages 6 and 7 are beautiful examples of Irish illumination. 

This Codex, No. 51, is a copy of the Gospels in Latin, 
divided into lessons and verses, the commencement of the 
lessons being marked by illuminated initials, the verses by 
plainly coloured ones. The evangelist Matthew is again re- 
presented in Codex 1395. Here he is seated in a chair writing, 
with long curling hair, pointed beard, his angel with a book in 
front of him. He holds a penknife resembling that in the picture 
of Bede writing (Codex 60) in the Ministerial Library at Schaff- 
hausen. His nimbus is cruciform, " such a mistake as is often 
made," says Didron, " by the ignorant or negligent artist or the 
copyist." An Irish charm, or elixir of life, is given on the back 
of this page a sovereign remedy said to have been bequeathed 
by the physician Diancecht, of the Tuatha de Danaan race, 
whose name occurs in the early myths of Ireland. The evange- 
list John is again represented in Codex 60, but this is the work 
of some rude Continental scribe, as may be seen by the form of 
the lettering. Besides these instances published by Ferdinand 
Keller, we do not know whether the other twelve MSS. in this 
collection have miniatures or not; some fine examples of Irish 
caligraphy are collected in two plates, but no reference given to 
the MSS. from which they are taken. 


The quadrangular bell of St. Gallus is preserved in the 
monastery of St. Gall ; but it is perverted from its original design 
by being attached to a wall, for all the ancient Irish bells are 
hand-bells. There is also a silver book-shrine in the museum 
of Irish workmanship. 

At Schaffhausen, in the Ministerial Library, there is a manu- 
script in perfect preservation of Adamnan's " Life of St. Columba,'' 
circa A.D. 700 this is the oldest and most complete biography 
of the Irish saint now existing. It was brought there from 
Reichenau (Augia Dives), in which monastery was also preserved 
an Irish Codex of the Epistles of St. Paul. The bowl of St. 
Fintan is preserved in the sacristy of this church. Fintan was a 
native of Leinster, born circa 798; and though he was not the 
founder of Reichenau, so great was his sanctity that the monks 
chose him for their patron. In the Town Library of Berne is a 
well-preserved Irish MS. numbered 363. This volume contains 
six different tracts, it is not stated whether they exhibit any Irish 
illumination. In the Library of the Antiquarian Society at Zurich, 
are four fragments of Irish books: I. "An old Irish Ritual;" 
II. "Fragment of an ancient Sacramentarium \ " III. "Frag- 
ment of the Writings of the Prophet Ezekiel j" IV. " Fragment 
of a Grammar." 

The Abbey of Lure was founded by St. Gall's elder brother, 
Dicuil (Deicola), d. 625. Mabillon describes the situation: 
"Tnbus ab Anagratibus Leucis; Vicus Le Saucy, una tanturn 
Leuca distat a Leubrae Abbatia." * 

Near the church, when Mabillon visited it, were two tumuli 
of large dimensions, one being the tomb of Dicuil, the other 
of his successor Columbinus, both disciples of the great 

At Basle, or Basel, there are three manuscripts in the town 
library, a beautiful Irish Psalter (A. VII. 3), with a hymn in 
praise of Bridget and Patrick, two works of St. Isidore of Spain, 
* Mabillon, " Annal. Benedict." 1. i. p. 211. 


"De Natura Rerum" (F. F. III. 15. a), and " Differentiis Spirita- 
libus"(F. F. III. 15. e). 

At Coire, or Chur, in the Canton of the Orisons, was a 
monastery founded by St. Fridolin, and dedicated to Hilary of 
Aries, circa 500. In the rich treasury of the cathedral, an Irish 
reliquary and some stones sculptured with designs belonging to 
the same school may be seen. 

Passing from Switzerland into Bavaria, we find at Eichstadt 
the original MS. of Cogitosus 5 "Life of St. Brigid " in the Domi- 
nican convent on the north bank of the Altmuhl, a tributary of 
the Danube. At Ingolstadt, Adamnan's tract, "De Locis Sanctis," 
was discovered. In fact, as Dr. Reeves observes : " The literary 
offerings of this part of Bavaria were a small instalment in 
discharge of the old debt Franconia owed to Ireland for her 
missionary services." 

At Wiirzburg we find a remarkable monument of early Irish 
occupation in the copy of the Pauline Epistles, with the inter- 
linear glosses. Here also is preserved the Latin Bible written in 
semi-uncial letters which, according to credible tradition, was 
found in St. Kilian's tomb in the year 743, Kilian having been 
interred in 687. This book is still exposed upon the altar of the 
cathedral church, on St. Kilian's festival day. A curious repre- 
sentation of the Crucifixion appears in this manuscript where 
cherubim are ministering to the penitent thief, whilst ill-omened 
birds are pecking at the impenitent sinner. 

A monastery in Tegernsee, in Bavaria, is also said to possess 
a " Vita Columbse Confessoris." This town lies between the Isar 
and the Inn, and the lakes of Schlier and Tegern. Another life 
of Columba was found by Canisius in the monastery of Wind- 
berg, in Bavaria, where it goes by the name of " Codex Rebdor- 
fensis," and it is said to have come from Rebdorf in the south- 
east of Franconia, But the most important Irish settlement in 
Bavaria was at Ratisbon ; a monastery founded there dedicated 
to St. James was the parent of many Scotic monasteries, The 


*'Life of the Holy Marianus Scotus of Donegal, circa 1067," is 
preserved here, also his " Commentary on the Psalms of David." 
The doorway of the old church of St. Peter's strongly resembles 
those of the decorated Irish Romanesque buildings of the twelfth 
century, and a silver shrine appears to be the work of the same 
school, which was brought from the monastery of St. Emerau in 
Ratisbon to Munich, in the Royal Library of which town it is now 
deposited. In the monastery of St. Magnus, in Ratisbon, we find 
Ultan's "Life of St. Bridget," and the " Life of Erhard." 

Marianus Scotus, of Ratisbon, left Donegal in Ireland eleven 
years after the chronicler who bore the same adopted name. He 
brought with him two companions, John and Candidus, intend- 
ing to travel to Rome. When they reached Bamberg in Bavaria 
they were admitted to the Order of St. Benedict, in the monas- 
tery of St. Michelsberg, but, preferring retirement, they had a 
small cell at the foot of the hill assigned to their use. After a 
short stay they obtained permission to travel further, and arriving 
at Ratisbon, they were received into the convent of Obermunster, 
where Marianus was employed by the Abbess Emma in the 
transcription of books. He wrote some missals and a number of 
other religious books, his companions preparing the membranes 
for his use. After some time he was minded to continue his 
original journey ; but a brother Irishman, called Murtagh, who 
was then living as a recluse at the Obermunster, urged him to let 
it be determined by Divine guidance whether he should proceed 
on his way or settle for life at Ratisbon. He passed the night 
in Murtagh's cell, and in the hours of darkness it was intimated 
to him that wherever on the next day he should first behold the 
rising sun he should remain and fix his abode. Starting before 
day he entered St. Peter's Church, outside the walls, to implore 
the Divine blessing on his journey. But scarcely had he come 
forth, when he beheld the sun stealing above the horizon. "Here, 
then," said he, " I shall rest, and here shall be my resurrection." 
His determination was hailed with joy by the whole population. 


The Abbess granted him this church of St. Peter, commonly 
known as Weigh Sanct Peter, with an adjacent plot, where in 1076 
a citizen, called Bethselinus, built for the Irish at his own cost a 
little monastery, which the Emperor Henry IV. soon after took 
under his protection at the request of the Abbess Hezecha. 
From Weigh St. Peter another Irish monastery, called St. James 
of Ratisbon, took its rise in 1090. Domnus, a native of the South 
of Ireland, was its first Abbot. It is further recorded of Marianus 
that "this holy man wrote from beginning to end, with his own 
hand, the Old and New Testament, with explanatory comments 
on the same books, and that not once or twice, but over and 
over again, with a view to the eternal reward, all the while clad 
in sorry garb, living on slender diet, attended and aided by his 
brethren both in the upper and lower monasteries, who prepared 
the parchments for his use ; besides, he also wrote many smaller 
books and manuals, psalters for distressed widows and poor 
clerics of the same city, towards the health of his soul, without 
any prospect of earthly gain. Furthermore, through the grace of 
God, many congregations of the monastic order, which in faith 
and charity and imitation of the blessed Marianus, are derived 
from the aforesaid Ireland, and inhabit Bavaria and Franconia, 
are sustained by the writings of the blessed Marianus." * He died 
on the 9th of February, 1088. Aventinus, the Bavarian Annalist, 
styles him, "Poeta et Theologus insignis, nullique suo seculo 
secundus." A copy of the Epistles of St. Paul, written by 
Marianus "for his pilgrim brethren," is preserved now in the 
Imperial Library of Vienna. At the end of the MS. are these 
words: "In honore Individuse Trinitatis, Marianus Scotus scripsit 
hunc librum suis fratribus peregrinis. Anima ejus requiescat in 
pace, propter Deum devote dicite Amen." 

Further information as to the history of the Irish monastery 
of St. James at Ratisbon has been drawn from the " Chronicon 
Ratisbonense," transcribed by Stephen White when Professor at 
* " Acta Sanctorum/' Febr, t. ii. pp. 365-372. 


Wiirzburg about the year 1650. It is there stated that the money 
was supplied from Ireland to Dionysius, the Irish Abbot of 
St. Peter's, at Ratisbon, with which he purchased a site for the 
monastery of St. James, to the western side of Ratisbon, and the 
old Bavarian chronicler continues: "Now be it known, that 
neither before nor since was there a more noble monastery, such 
magnificent towers, walls, pillars, and roofs, so rapidly erected, so 
perfectly finished, as in this monastery, because of the wealth and 
money sent by the king and princess of Ireland." 

The king alluded to here was Conor O'Brien, king of 
Munster, to whom the emissaries of the Abbot of St. Peter's at 
Ratisbon had applied for aid. This Conor began his reign in the 
year 1127. His contributions being exhausted, a second embassy 
was sent, and Gregorius, after having been consecrated Abbot of 
St. James, came to Ireland, and visited Murtogh O'Brien, who- 
gave him a large sum of money, that had been deposited some 
time before in the hands of the Archbishop of Cashel for the 
church at Ratisbon. With this money the Abbot bought many 
farms, villages, plots of ground, houses, and sumptuous buildings 
in the city of Ratisbon, and it is further stated " that the old 
building at Ratisbon was thrown down, and rebuilt anew from 
top to bottom with square blocks of stone ; it was roofed with 
lead, the pavement was of polished stones, diamond-shaped." 
(Bolland, Feb. gth, p. 372.) 

Wattenbach states that conflagrations consumed all that was 
destructible by fire, but Gregory's square tower, and the richly 
decorated portal of the church stood out firmly against every 

Not many years ago, this author found an illuminated copy 
of the Gospels in the German Museum of Nuremberg. It 
belongs to the library of the Prince of Oettingen- Waller stein, but 
came originally from the Benedictine convent of Saint Arnoul in 
Metz (Latin Metis), on the Moselle, in France. Mr. Wattenbach 
says: "This magnificent copy of the Gospels, belonging to the 


Library of the Princes of Oettingen-Wallerstein at Mottingen, 
which has been for some time deposited in the German Museum 
of Nuremberg, where I met with it, may now be added to the 

quidem muIncDHCoi sor~ 


number of remarkably illuminated manuscripts of Irish origin, 
which have already been described. 

"The peculiar characteristics of Irish illumination are im- 
mediately recognisable in the initial letters, Q and I, which form 


the headings of the Gospels of St. Luke and St. John in this 
manuscript, and which are here reproduced, such as the spirals, 


birds 7 heads, and framework of red dots. The text exhibits that 
beautiful round character, which, in some measure, resembles the 
uncial writing, but is distinguishable from it by the letters being 
smaller and more connected in some places, so much so even as 


to spoil their clearness, although the eye may be gratified by the 
uniformity of writing throughout the MS. The deciphering of 
them is rendered difficult, especially by the extreme resemblance 
of the letters N and R. The parchment is fine and strong, 
without being too white, and the ink brilliantly black. The 
initials present the ordinary colours violet, green, yellow, and 
red, which in some places have preserved their primitive freshness. 
One detail, however, does not agree with the other characters of 
the writing, that is, the employment of gold and silver in the 
favourite ornamented capitals, which, though common in the 
writing of the Carlovingian period, was foreign to Irish 
illuminative Art of the ninth century. But this enigma is solved 
on closer examination. Between the closing lines at the end of 
the Gospel of St. Luke : Expl. evang. secundum Lucam Deo 
grat. felic.,' some fresh hand has intercalated the words in letters 
of silver: c Explicit liber Set Evangelii secundum Lucam Deo 
gratias? The title, in golden letters, ' Evangelium secwidum 
Lucamj may also be the addition of a later period ; and we may 
conclude that the gold ornament in the initials is a factitious 
embellishment of the Carlovingian period. Hence the manuscript 
may be attributed to a pre-Carlovingtan epoch, say to the seventh, 
if not to the sixth, century. 

"Whence comes this manuscript? A leaf pasted on to one of 
the pages refers us to the convent of St. Arnoul of Metz. The 
entry is as follows : 

" c The writing of the codex contained in this jewelled case is 
Merovingian work of the end of the sixth century in uncial 
characters. Another Anglo-Saxon MS. of about the same time ot 
uncial characters also. Each MS. would, if for sale, be of great 
pecuniary value. This value should be upwards of 125 louis d'or 
for each. Dom Maugerard, Librarian in the Monastery of St. 
Arnoul, Great Almoner of France, Fellow of the Royal Academy 
of Metz, Commissary in the Episcopal Chamber of Regulars.' 

" The author of this note has, through a common enough error, 


called the Irish writing of the MS., Anglo-Saxon, but he has 
correctly stated its age. The case of the book was doubtless of 
great value, even if it had not been, as in the instance of the 
other manuscript, ornamented with precious stones. However 
that may be, it has disappeared, and the rare manuscript is now 
covered in simple half binding. The inscription, 'Ex libris 
A (or H} Gaertier a. 1809,' points to a more recent possessor of 
the manuscript. The copyist of the manuscript has given his 
name. On the last page, we see a lion rudely painted, above 
which is written, in characters probably more recent. Ecce ko 
stat super euangelium? Below the lion in a framework of green 
lines, some verses appear, the second line of which certainly is an 
hexameter, and the others are meant to be such. 

" 4 Zux mundi Iceta Deus, hasc tibi celeri curs U 

Alme potens scribsi soli famulatus et un I 

Ut te vita fruar teque casto inveniam cult U 

./fectaque per te, ad te ducente te gradiar ui A 

^Sxcelse cernis Deus quse me plurima cingun T 

Abta et ignota tuis male nata zezania sati S 

7u sed mihi certa salus spesque unica uita JE 

ymmeritum licet lucis facias adtingere lime N 

Cferba nam tua ualida imis me tollat avern / 

.Sola hsec misero mihi te vitam dabunt seruul 

*' ' All-nourishing powerful God, joyful Light of the World, 

To Thee One and alone have I Thy servant written, with rapid pen, 

That in my life I might enjoy Thee and find Thee in pure worship, 

And through Thee, by Thy guidance, I may walk in the straight path which 

leads to Thee. 

God on high Thou seest how many things enchain me. 
The ill-sprung tares, known and unknown, mixed with Thy seed, 
But to me Thou art my certain salvation and only hope of life. 
Thou canst make me, unworthy as I am, to reach the threshold of light, 
For Thy words of power shall lift me from the depths of hell. 
These alone give Thee> the true Life, to me TJiy wretched servant? 

"The first and last letters of the lines, written in red in the 
manuscript, form the words * Laurentius vivai senio? This is 
probably the name of the scribe, a name which is not Irish, 
and may, perhaps, be one adopted on entering the cloister. 


"I leave to theologians the task of critical examination of this 
text of the Gospels, and will continue the description of its exterior. 
On the back of the first leaf, under the title, Kanon Euangeliorum, 
some verses on this canon are found commencing thus : 

" Quam in primo speciosa quadriga, 
Homo leo vitulus et aquila, 
LXX. unum per capitula, 
De domino conloquntur paria, 
In secundo subsequente protinus, etc. 

" On the following page, two marvellous birds are represented 
on a plate, or space, which contains the letters, Evangelia veritatis 

in an arrangement full of art. The reverse contains the words 

' Prologus quattuor evangeliorum bono lect. f elicit] in large 
characters of pure uncial writing. The lines are alternately red 
and black, here and there ornamented with yellow ; all the title 
pages are likewise written in this ancient manner. The prologue 
commences by a line (plures fuisse), ornamented in a perfectly 
Irish style. The text is written in two columns; the book is 
large quarto; each paragraph is headed with an ornamented 
initial. First comes a letter from St. Jerome to St. Damasus; 
then the Canones evangeliorum^ in columns as usual ; and lastly, 
the Gospels, preceded by their summary. The Gospels them- 
selves commence with richly ornamented initials. Before the 
Gospels is a page filled with geometrical designs and ornamental 
patterns, such as are often met with in Irish manuscripts; but the 
latter are not remarkable for beauty. The text is written 'per 
cola et commata/ that is to say, that, instead of punctuation, each 
phrase is complete in a line. If an empty space is anywhere left, 
it is filled up by means of red points, arranged in groups of three. 
The quoted passages have before each of their lines, a sort of 
flourish, with a dot in the middle, all in red. At the close of the 
Fourth Gospel are the words : c ExpL Evang. Sec. fohann. Uiue 
etfruere? And with this wish I, too, conclude, 



At Vienna there is also another copy of the "Life of St. 
Columba," a manuscript of Sedulius written in double columns, 
with red initial letters, and a copy of Eutychus with old Irish 

In Germany we find traces of Irish missionaries in various 
monasteries. Thus at Fulda, the Gospels of St. Boniface pre- 
served in the cathedral exhibit art of the Irish school. In the 
crypt, which is all that remains of the old building, the shrine of 
St. Boniface and his ivory crosier are kept with a portion of his 
skull, and the dagger with which he was murdered. The 
chronicler, Marian, expressly states that this Boniface was a 
Scot. He also speaks of a St. Anmchadh, who, corning from 
Iniscaltra (Holy Island in Lough Derg, Ireland), travelled to 
Germany, and became a recluse at Fulda. 

At Treves, or Trier, two MSS. may be seen ist, a Codex of 
the ninth century is kept in the house of Canon von TTilmousky, 
near the Cathedral of Treves ; and 2nd, the Gospels of Thomas, 
who was Abbot of Honau in the eighth century. In the second 
plate of this book the interweaving of the Evangelical symbols is 
Irish in character. 

The monastery of Honau was founded on an island in the 
Rhine, near Strasburg, by Tuban an Irish bishop, in 720, and 
was patronised by Pepin and Charlemagne. A Confirmation 
grant of A.D. Sio states that it was founded, "Ad pauperes et 
peregrinos gentis Scotorum," and it is attested by the signatures 
of the abbot, seven bishops, and one presbyter, all of them 
bearing Irish names. 

* The MS. of Sedulius, or Siedhuil, contains a complete copy of the 
Commentary of St. Aileran on the Genealogy of our Lord, according to St. 
Matthew. It consists of 157 folia, large quarto, written in two columns, with, 
red initial letters. The author, Aileran the Wise, was head of the School of 
Clonard in the seventh century, and his death is recorded in the " Annals of 
Ulster," Dec. 29, A.D. 664. The tract is entitled "TIpicus ac Tropologicus 
Jesu Christi Genealogi;e Intellectus quern Sanctus Ailsranus Scottorum 
Sapientissimus exposuit. Cod. Memb. Theol. CIX. nunc VI. CI." 



At Gheel, near Malines in Belgium, is the old church of St. 
Dympna, a king's daughter who fled from Slieve Betha in 
Monaghan in the seventh century, and who founded the church 
at Ghent, where she has always been honoured as the patron 
saint of the insane. Her crosier, portions of which are illustrated . 
in this volume, is preserved in the Museum of the Royal Irish 
Academy in Dublin. The church in which her relics are de- 
posited is a spacious old building just outside the village of 

At Cambray, there is a Codex (A.D. 763) finely ornamented in 
the Irish style, No. 684, which contains canons of the Irish 
Council held A.D. 684. A "Life of St. Bridget," that came from 
Longford, may also be found in the monastery of St. Autbert 
in Cambray. 

In the public library of Leyden, a Priscian, written by Dub- 
thach, circa 838, may be seen a fragment of the New Testament 
in the University Library of Utrecht, while in the Burgundian 
Library of Brussels is preserved the large collection of Irish 
manuscripts brought from Louvain. 


EFORE we pass on from the subject of the Illu- 
minated Books of Ancient Ireland, it will 
be necessary to mention the leathern 
satchels called polaires, in which 
these books were carried or were 
hung upon the walls of the chamber 
in the monastery or tower where they were 
preserved, such as that called the Satchel 
of the Book of Armagh, the Satchel of 
FIG ' l6 - the Irish Missal at Corpus Christi, Cam- 

bridge, and the Satchel of St. Moedoc's Reliquary; Mr. West- 
wood has described the Satchel in Cambridge as of black 


leather, the front being ornamented with diagonally impressed 
iines and ciicles, now nearly obliterated by constant use. At 
the upper angles are affixed strong leathern straps fastened with 
leather ties to a broader central strap, which passed over the 
shoulders, and by which the volume was suspended round the 
neck.* It is a remarkable fact that all the books in the Library of 
the Abyssinian monastery of Sourians, on the Xatron Lakes in 
Egypt, were recently found by an English traveller in a condition 
singularly resembling that of the "Book of Armagh." and adding 
an interesting illustration of a practice probably derived from 
that school. The books of Abyssinia are bound in the usual way, 
sometimes in red leather, and sometimes in wooden boards, which 
are occasionally elaborately carved in rude and coarse devices ; 
they are then enclosed in a case, tied up with leathern thongs ; to 
this case is attached a strap for the convenience of carrying the 
volume over the shoulders ; and by these straps the books are 
hung to the wooden pegs, three or four on a peg, or more, if the 
books were small ; their usual size was that of a small, very thick 
quarto (Curzon's c: Monasteries of the Levant/' p. 93). From 
the many instances in which such objects are mentioned in our 
ancient histories, it would appear that they were as common in 
Ireland as the sacred relics they were intended to preserve. St. 
Columba is said to have blessed " One hundred polaires, noble, 
one coloured" ("Leabhar Breac,'*' fol 16-60). And again in the 
same " Life " it is said, " for it was a practice with him to make 
crosses, and book satchels, and ecclesiastical implements " ; 
Patrick also is described as appearing followed by the boy Benen, 
with his satchel on his back, and this was an article necessary to 
the episcopal character, as it would seem, and it is enumerated 
amongst the presents given by Patrick to Fiacc, Bishop of Sletty : 
" Patrick gave a ciimtach to Fiacc containing, to wit, a bell, and 
reliquary, and a crozier, and a book satchel." 

* See Gilbert's "Facsimiles of the National MSS. of Ireland," Part II. 
App. ii. Fig. 2, where a photograph of this Satchel is given. 

E 2 



The subject of Irish Illumination has been treated of in the 
following works : 

Ferdinand Keller, " On the MSS. of St. Gall," published in 
Zurich Society's " Transactions." 

Rev. Dr. Reeves, "Ancient Irish Calligraphy" (Ulster Joiirnal 
of Archeology}. 

Westwood, " Miniatures and Ornaments of Anglo-Saxon and 
Irish MSS." 

Westwood, " Palseographia Sacra Pictoria." 

Waagen, German Art Journal, No. II. 

O'Conor, "Rer. Hib. Script," Lib. I. cxliii. 

H. Noel Humphreys, "Illuminated Books of the Middle 

H. Shaw, "Illuminated Ornaments from MSS. of Middle 

H. Shaw, " Decorative Arts of the Middle Ages." 

"Essay on Illumination," appended to "Cromlech on Howth," 
with Illuminations in facsimile from the Books of Kells and 

Purton Cooper, Report App. A, Record Commission Report. 

Purton Cooper, Report on " Foedera." 

M. D. Wyatt, " The Art of Illuminating." Illustrations by 
W. R. Tymms. 

" On the Colouring Matters employed in the Illuminations of 
the Book of Kells," by W. N. Hartley, F.R.S., Royal College of 
Science, Dublin. 

M. Wattenbach, " Zeitschrift fur Christliche Archaologie und 
Kunst," Leip. 1856, pp. 21-49. 

J. L. Gilbert, " Facsimiles of the National MSS. of Ireland," 
Public Record Office of Ireland, Dublin, 1874. 



S the character of the arts introduced 
into Ireland with Christianity was grafted 
upon and modified by the arts of Pagan 
Ireland, it will be well to learn what degree 
of excellence in this art of metal-work had 
been attained before the fourth and fifth 
centuries of our era. This knowledge will 
FIG. 17. better be acquired by the accurate obser- 

vation of one particular example than by a more comprehensive 
treatment of the bronze and gold antiquities of this early date. 

There are two fragments of a bronze ornament in the Petrie 
Museum which, as stated by Mr. Kemble, " for beauty of design 
and execution may challenge comparison with any specimen of 
cast bronze work that it has ever been my fortune to see." 
These fragments, if examined with care, may teach much of what 
la}- at the foundation of the success of the Irish metal-workers 
in succeeding generations. 

Commencing with the more perfect of these two fragments, 
we find it to consist of five separate pieces, fitted with delicate 
precision and joined together by small rivets. First, a band or 
fillet of thin bronze plate ; then, 2nd. a circular plate ; 3rd, a 


cone or tongue springing upwards from the band. Besides 
these three principal portions there are two accessory objects a 
stud and a shoe which help to keep the whole together. In 
both cases the bands are broken at either end, from which 
we may conclude that they formed part of a longer object. They 
measure i|/ in. in height, and are slightly curved, as if they 
had formed portions of a circular or oval ring they are pierced 
at the upper and lower edges with small needle-holes, showing 
that some fine fabric was stitched to them by a delicate thread. 
The round plates are furnished with two little pegs or feet at the 
back, by which they were fixed into the hollow at the base of the 
cone into which the shoe is inserted, which supports the circular 
plate in an upright position. The cone rests partly on the top- 
most edge of the band or fillet, and partly in the hollow of the 
stud fixed on the band. This cone, which measures 4% in. 
in height by 3}^ in. in circumference at its base, is somewhat 
like a horn or tongue, and the denticulated edge at its summit 
shows signs of wearing, as if some hard object had rested there, 
such as a small crystal ball. The three principal parts, i.e. the 
band, the circular plates, and the cone, are decorated by the 
spiral lines in relief to which Mr. Kemble drew our attention ; 
but, instead of being as he declared " casting," it would appear 
as if the result were partly obtained by stamping, as a coin is 
stamped, and that then the lines were finished by hand. On 
examining the reverse of the plates we find that, although the 
delicate lines of the curves and spirals are not seen in intaglio, as 
they would be if the work were repousse^ yet the minute bosses 
on the surface are all clearly repousse, being seen pressed out, or 
concave, on the back. Would this have been the case if the 
bronze plate were cast? Again, there are four parts of apparently 
the same ornament which might have all been cast from one 
mould, if casting were the method adopted ; but it is clear that, 
if cast at all, there must have been four separate moulds, for in 
following each line of the curves and spirals a certain irregularity 


and difference is perceivable in every instance. This might occur 
if the less mechanical process of stamping and handwork were 
adopted, since the stamp, being possibly formed of a less durable 
material than a mould, might require to be changed each time. 

If not, then, the finest pieces of casting ever seen, yet, as 
specimens of design and workmanship, they are, perhaps, unsur- 
passed. The surface is here overspread with no vague lawlessness, 
but the ornament is treated with fine reserve, and the design 
carried out with the precision and delicacy of a masters touch. 
The ornament on the cone flows round and upwards in lines 
gradual and harmonious as the curves in ocean surf, meeting and 
parting only to meet again in lovelier forms of flowing motion. 
In the centre of the circular plate below just at the point or 
hollow, whence all these lines flow round and upwards, at the 
very heart as it might seem of the whole work a crimson drop of 
clear enamel may be seen. 

It has been suggested that these fragments are portions of two 
such horns as are seen on an ancient British helmet in our 
National Museum in London. The extreme delicacy and fragile 
nature of these objects seem, however, to refute this theory a 
theory most valuable at the same time as bearing out the idea of 
the true origin of such things the horn or tongue of flame pro- 
jecting from the head being one of the most ancient symbols of 
divine power in man which we possess. The horns on the British 
helmet are strong and massive, such as might be worn in battle, 
but it is possible that the fragments now under consideration may 
be the remains of an Irish radiated crown, formed of seven horns 
or tongues, so arranged as to rise from a band or fillet intended 
to encircle the head it may be of an image or of a king during 
some sacred festival. 

The question as to the probable date of this ornament is not 
an easy one to solve. We should consider the working of the 
material very clearly, comparing it with examples in other 
countries before arriving at any conclusions. A late writer on 


the antiquities of the bronze age referring to the inhabitants of 
Europe north of the Alps says : 

" The art of metal-working, as proved by the remains associated together 
in the various places of manufacture, was carried to a high pitch of perfection. 
Most of the bronzes were cast and the moulds carefully designed : the metal 
was also tempered by hammering, or engraved with various elaborate patterns, 
or adorned with repousse work. 

" Stamps were also employed for impressing thin plates of metal. In all 
probability the art of casting preceded the tempering, stamping, and engraving ; 
but on the evidence before us there is nothing to show that the first was derived 
from a different source to, or known in Gaul, before the others." 

In these fragments under our consideration we find : 

ist. A complete mastery over the arts of tempering, stamping, 
and engraving. 

2nd. Exquisite skill in design and execution. 

3rd. The design is a variety of a certain design found in 
three stages of development on the monuments of Ireland. 
This, belonging to the second and most perfect stage, corre- 
sponds with that upon the bronze discs found at Monastereven, 
and the spoon-shaped relics found in a bog in Ireland, which 
correspond to those described by Mr. Albert Way (Arch. Jour., 
xxvi. 52 ; Arch. Cavib., 4th series, i. 199), a variety coming 
between the primitive form seen on the stone and bone relics 
above mentioned, and the more complex form occurring on 
Christian monuments. 

4th. These fragments are presumed to have been portions 
of a radiated crown a form, of crown which is first represented 
on the coins minted in Gaul and Britain, in the years A,D. 260, 
287, and 293, i.e. a century before the introduction of Christianity 
into Ireland.* 

We may safely conclude that even at so early a date as the 
time of St. Patrick's mission, new varieties of design were intro- 
duced into Irish Art from the Continent. In the fifth century, 
and at about the time when Patrick came from Gaul ro Ireland, 

* See " Archaiologia," vol. xlvii. p. 473. 


the goldsmith's an was cultivated, especially in the southern 
Gaulish provinces. Statuettes, bas-reliefs, vessels, shrines, reli- 
quaries, and domestic utensils were manufactured. The first 
churches built in Gaul were soon enriched with gold and silver, 
as is proved by the will of Perpetuus, Bishop of Tours (circa 4/7): 
" To thee, most dear Euphronius, brother and bishop, I give and 
bequeath my silver reliquary. I mean that which I have been 
accustomed to carry upon my person, for the reliquary of gold, 
which is in my treasury, another two golden chalices, and cross of 
gold, made by Mabuinus, do I give and bequeath to my church." 

When Patrick came into Ireland (circa 440-46), he was, 
as we learn from Tirechan, attended by some Gauls, along with 
a multitude of holy bishops. It is not improbable that some of 
these foreigners were artists. We read that bells were distributed 
throughout the many oratories founded by St. Patrick. These 
appear to have been of the very rudest character, if we may judge 
from the iron bell of St. Patrick, now preserved in the Museum 
of the Royal Irish Academy. Three smiths, " expert at shaping, :> 
MacCecht, Laebhan, and Fortchern, are named as belonging to 
St. Patrick's family, that is, to his religious associates, and 
mention is also made of three artificers of great skill, Aesbuite, 
Tairill, and Tassach ; and in the Tripartite Life it is stili more 
explicitly stated, that the smiths should make the bells, and that 
the braziers should make the patens, and the menisters, and the 
altar chalices. 

The works of these artists were executed at about the same 
time as that in which the silver reliquary was made by Mabuinus, 
in Gaul, for the relics of Perpetuus; and we may form some 
conception of the condition of Christian Art in northern Italy, 
when we remember that this was about the period in which the 
throne of Dagobert, the ivory chair of Maximian, at Ravenna, 
and certain of the relics of the Cathedral of Monza were executed. 
We have an indication of the influx of foreign articles into Ire- 
land with the first Christian teachers, in the mention of the 


transmarine and foreign vestments of Bishop Conla, which 
Bridget granted to the poor after the bishop's death, and which 
are said to have come from Leatha, i.e. Italy. This Bishop 
Conla was also Bridget's principal artist in gold, silver, and 
other metals. In the life of the artificer, St. Dageus, who lived 
in the sixth century, his works are enumerated: namely, cam- 
panas, cymbals, baculos, cruces, scrinia, capsas, pyxides, discos, 
altariola, chrysmalia, librorumque cooptoria, quaedam vero alia 
auro atque argento, gemmesque pretiosis, circumtecta. ("Aet. 
SS. Aug.," tome iii. p. 659 ?;.) 

"It would appear," says Dr. Petrie, "from the number of 
references to shrines in the Irish annals, that previously to the 
irruptions of the Northmen in the eighth and ninth centuries, 
there were few. if any, of the distinguished churches in Ireland 
which had not costly shrines." But such objects became the 
prey of the pagan invader, and thus we may account for the 
fact that no fine specimen of Christian Art in metal-work is to be 
seen in our museums to which we can assign a date earlier than 
the tenth century. 

Although we find the Tnsh annalists lauding "the great 
skill" of those artificers who 'made St. Patrick's bells, patens, 
etc., yet the only example of their work extant is of the rudest 
possible character. The iron Bell of St. Patrick is at once the 
most authentic and the oldest lush relic of Christian metal-work 
that has descended to us. It possesses the singular merit of 
having an unbroken history through fourteen hundred years. 
This bell is quadrilateral, and is formed of two plates of sheet 
iron, which are bent over so as to meet, and are fastened together 
by large-headed iron rivets. The corners are rounded by a 
gentle inclination of the parts which join. One of the plates 
constitutes the face, the crown, and upper third of the back, 2.3 
well as the adjacent portion of each side, being doubled over 
at the top, and descending to meet the smaller plate, which 
overlaps it at the junction. Subsequently to the securing the 


joints by livets, the iron frame was consolidated bv the fusion 
of bronze into the joints and over the surface, Diving to the 
whole a metallic solidity, which very much enhanced its reso- 
nance, as well as contributed to its preservation. The inside 
also was coated with bronze, though more irregularly than the 
outside, owing to the unevenness of the surface ; and the coating 
seems to have been effected by the clipping of the iron shell 
into a vessel of the fused metallic compound, a process which 
has been employed to a recent date in the manufacture of the 
Wiltshire sheep-bells. The handle Is of iron. let in by ^rejecting 
spikes to perforations on the ridge of the bell, and further secured 
on the outside by bronze attachments of its straps ** 

One remarkable fact in connection with the reliquary in which 
this bell was enshrined is, that, since it was made about the year 
1091, it has never been lost sight of. From the beginning i: had 
a special keeper; in succeeding generations its custody was 
continued in the same family, and proved to them a source of 
considerable emolument: and in after ages, when its pronts 
ceased to accrue, long associations so bound it up with the 
affections of the keeper's family that they almost held their 
existence upon the tenure of its safe custody, and thus handed 
it down from generation to generation, till the stock at last 
became extinct, and the object of their former care passed 
into a keeping established by friendship instead of blood. It 
was one proof of the fact that these little iron hand-bells of 
the first teachers of Christianity were among the relics held in 
highest estimation among the Irish, These, when worn and 
useless, as in the case of this bell of the great apostle of Ireland, 
were enshrined in cases made in the form of the bell, and 
adorned with gold and precious stones; 2nd, as in the case 
of the book-shrines, also probably executed about 400 or 500 
years after the death of the saint to whom the bell belonged. 

* Trans. Roy. Irish Acadtmy, Maich, 1877; "On the Bell of Patrick/' 
by Wm. Reeves, D.D. 




This rude iron bell is 2. fair example of the type which seems 
to have also prevailed in Wales and Scotland during the first 
centuries after the introduction of Christianity. Mr. Ellacornbe 
has described and illustrated six such hand-bells of the Early 
Welsh Church, and refers to fifty-three examples in Irish 
museums of native work, besides one still preserved in Switzer- 
land to which we have already alluded, the Bell of St. Gall ; 
one in France, that of St. Godeberte in Xoyon ; and one at 
Stival, in Brittany. Didron describes a similar bell preserved 
at the Museum of Cologne, said to have belonged to Ciimbert, 
the first bishop of that town. Dr. Anderson describes four of 
such bells in Scotland, and notes that there are but two of the 
same type in England, and adds : " As all those in Scotland 
whose associations have been preserved are attributed to Irish 
saints, we naturally turn to Ireland in search of the parent 
group. There we find the type is well known, and examples 
both in iron and bronze are abundant. The exact number of 
those that are still extant in Ireland is not easily ascertained, 
but they can be enumerated up to between fifty and sixty/'' The 
antiquary may further find in Ireland that a large number of 
these primitive iron bells can be said to possess an authentic 
history. As we have shown in the case of St. Patrick's Bell, 
the fate of many of these curious relics has been bound up with 
that of the family in the present century descended from the 
hereditary keeper of the bell in the old monastery. Thus, the 
MacBeolans in Galway remained, till a few years ago, custodians 
of the Black Bell of St. Patrick, now in the Museum of the 
Royal Irish Academy; the MacGuirks of Tyrone were hereditary 
keepers of the Bell of Termon MacGuirk, now in the Dungannon 
Museum, which descended from Columba, the founder of the 
church; the McEnhills kept the iron bell of Drumragh, near 
Omagh; the Magoverans that of St. Mogue in Templeport, 
County Cavan ; the O'Rorkes were keepers of the Bell of 
Fenagh, afterwards transported to Mohill : the Breslins, that of 


Conell of Iniscail, now in the British Museum ; and the Keanes 
of the county of Clare were hereditary keepers of St. Senan's 
Bell in Scattery Island, called the Clogh Oir, or Golden Bell. 


It may seem like exaggeration to suggest that these relics are 
twelve or thirteen hundred years old, and may be indeed the 
very bells used by the founders in those monasteries by whose 
servants and successors they were preserved to the present 


century ; and yet there is much evidence to support this 
assertion. The custom of enshrining these rude iron bells in 
cases, adorned with gold, silver, and enamels, and gems, which 


prevailed from the tenth to the twelfth century, shows the 
reverence with which the relics of the patron saint of the 
monastery were regarded. Thus we have the shrine of the 
original Bell of Culanus, which is apparently the work of the 


eleventh century;* the shrine of St. Mura ? s Bell, who was patron 
of Fahan, in Londonderry, and was venerated on March i2th; 
the shrine of the Bell of St. Mogue, who was bom A.D. 555, 
died 625; the shrine of St. Senan's Bell, the patron of the 
church on Scattery Island, who lived circa 540, whose festival 
day was March 8th ; and the shrine of the Bell of Conall Gaol, 
patron of the church of Inishkeei, County Donegal, which, in 
the year 1835, was sold by Connell MacMichael O'Breslen, a 
poor man but the oldest representative of the O'Breslen, who, 
as appears from an Inquisition 7 Jac. I., was one of the Erenaghs 
of Inishkeel. This bell-shrine has an inscription in black letter, 
greatly defaced, in which the names of Mahon, O'Meehan, and 
. . . O'Breslen are still legible.t 

The Bearnan Ciaran and Bearnan Ailbe, surnamed the 
" Broken or Gapped Bells," are mentioned by the Four Masters 
at pp. 843 and 1097, and the Bell of St. Kevin and St. Fechin 
in the twelfth century (p. 1072). 

Many of the iron bells of the first Christian period were 
distinguished by the epithet " Bearnan/' meaning " broken," or 
f; gapped/' by the Annalists of the tenth and eleventh century ; 
thus we read of the Bearnan Ciarain, and Bearnan Ailbe, and 
Bearnan Brigde, and Bearnan Cualaun. But in the tenth century 
bells of bronze, cast and moulded in a finer form, were in use. 
To this class belongs the second Bell of Columb of Ros 
Glandse in Roscommon, now in the Petrie Museum; the Bell 
of Gartan in Donegal, in the Museum of the Royal Irish 
Academy; that of Kilshanny, County Clare, in the same 
Museum ; and two fine examples which show that these bells 
were occasionally ornamented, the Bell of Cashel, now in the 
Museum of the Earl of Dunraven, and that of Bangor, in the 
county of Down, on the face of which a cross is incised, and 
round the base a band of Irish ornament runs, which is very 

* See ArchtBological Journal, vol. xx. p. 76. 

t See note, " Ann. Four Mast.," A.D. 1616, p. 2373. 


similar in both cases. These fine bronze bells vary in size from 
14 in. high by 9 in. wide at base to 5 in. high by 3 in. at base, 
while the old iron bells measure on an average from 6 in. high 
by 4^ in. wide to n in. by 8 in. wide. 

Fortunately, the date of one of these fine bronze bells of 
Ireland can be ascertained by the inscription which it bears, 
and thus we have a clue 
to the date of others of 
the same class. This 
is the Bronze Bell 
of Cumascach, son of 
Ailill, who was steward 
in the monastery of 
Armagh, and whose 
death in the year 908 
is recorded in the 
Annals of Ulster. This 
bell is of cast bronze, 
without rivets; its 
handle and clapper 
are of iron, and it 
measures n^ in. high 

by 8 in. across at the FIG ' ai BELL OF CUMASCACH MAC AILEIXO. 
base. (Fig. 21.) 

The bell-shrine of Maelbrigde, son of Redan, Bishop of 
Connor and Abbot of Muckamore and Ahoghill, who died in 
954, comes next in order of date. Only a fragment of the top 
of this shrine remains, but it contains the inscription : " Pray 
for Maelbrigde, through whom it was made, and for the . . . 
who made it." The material is bronze, overlaid with ornaments 
and gold and silver interspersed with enamels. It measures 
3j^ in. in breadih by 2 in. in height. (See Figs. 23, 24.) 

The shrine of the Bell of St. Patrick's Will, or Bell of 
Armagh, was made to enclose the rude iron bell of the apostle 



of Ireland. This fine example of goldsmith's work must have 
been executed between the years 1091 and 1105, when Donell 
MacAulay, whose name is given in the inscription, filled the 
See of Armagh. The shrine is made of brass, on which the 
ornamented parts are fastened down with rivets. The front is 
adorned with silver-gilt plates and knot-work in golden filigree. 
The silver work is partly covered with scrolls, some in alto- 
relievo, and some in , bas-relief. It is also decorated with gems 
and crystal, and on the sides are animal forms elongated and 
twisted into interlaced scrolls. (See Fig, 18.) 

UCH covers or shrines for bells seem to be 
unknown in any other branch of the Christian 
Church. Six examples of these beautiful reli- 
quaries are still in existence. Besides that 
from the county of Antrim, already men- 
tioned, we have the shrine of St. Patrick's 
Bell in Armagh; the Barnaan Cualawn, or 
shrine of the Bell of St. Culanus, in Tip- 
perary (Figs. 19, 20); that of St. Mura's 
Bell at Fahan in Donegal, that of the 
Bell of Coneil Cael in Glencolumbkill, 
County Donegal, that of the St. Mogue 
or Moedoc from Templeport in the county 
of Cavan, the Clogh Oir or Golden Bell of 
Senanus in Scattery Island at the mouth 
of the Shannon. We know of no other 
FIG. 22. reliquaries of this exact nature outside of 

Ireland except the two in Scotland, described by Dr. Anderson 
in his work entitled ''Scotland in Early Christian Times;" the 
bell-shrine found near Kilmichael Glassary which he believes may 
date about the twelfth century, and may have belonged to 
St. Molua of Lismore in Ireland ; and the bell-shrine of Guthrie 
in Forfarshire. 



The earliest dated example of decorative metal-work of the 
Irish style that we know of is perhaps the work of an Irish visitor 
to the monastery in Austria to which it belongs, or, as some have 
supposed, is of an early style which prevailed on the Continent 
and spread into Ireland. If of foreign workmanship we cannot 
but wonder at its exceptional character, when compared with other 


examples of early metal- work on the Continent, while its similarity 
to those of the Irish school is very striking. The relic to which 
we allude is the silver chalice of Kremsmiinster in Lower 
Austria, eighteen miles south of Wels near the Danube. There 
is a distinctly Irish character in the traceries upon this cup, and 
the monastery in which it is found is in a country long frequented 

F 2 


by Irish missionaries from the eighth century to the eleventh. 
I: ;s nor far from Gottweich, where Joannes who travelled from 
Ulster with Marianus lived as a recluse. In the old " Life of St. 
Altmann, 77 founder of Gottweich, we read : " In this venerable 
bishop's time there came a priest to Mount Kotweich, by nation 
a Scot, in profession a monk, in conversation religious. The 
r.ame he bore, which was John, signifying c God's Grace,' was in 
accordance with his disposition. Bishop Altmann loved this 
grace which was in him; and that he might the more readily 
ajide with him, a narrow cell was assigned him beside the church 
or" the blessed Mary, in which, agreeable to his wish and 
solicitation, he was immured." The date of the chalice of 
Kreinsmiinster can be approximately fixed since it bears an 
inscription : 

Tassilo Dux fortis Luitpirc virga regalis. 

This Tassilo was the last Duke in Bavaria of the race of the 
Arjilosinger. He fought during his minority under Pepin the 
Little, afterwards King of the Franks, and in the year 757 he 
undertook the government of his own duchy. He afterwards 
married Luitberga the daughter of Desiderius, the last king of the 
Lombards. The time at which this chalice was presented was 
somewhere between the year 757 when he became duke, and 
shortly after which he married Luitberga, and 781 when he was 
reduced to submission by Charlemagne and afterwards deprived 
of his dukedom. 

The chalice does not appear to have been so essential a 
portion of the furniture of the primitive Irish church as the bell. 
the crosier, and the book, so often enumerated as the gifts or 
bequests of the founder. One of the few notices we have met 
with of chalices is that legend in the " Life of St. Patrick " which 
states that, when Ailill, his servant, required of him sacred vessels 
for the service of his church, then, " the holy prelate, divinely 
instructed, pointed out to the presbyter, in a certain stone cave of 


wonderful workmanship, an altar underground, having on its four 
corners four chalices of glass." These chalices were probably 
foreign and imported by some missionary who preceded Patrick.* 
Chalices of glass were in use on the Continent down to the tenth 
century. The rudest, and possibly the oldest form of chalice of 
native workmanship in Ireland, was of stone. One example now 
preserved in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy, is as rude 
and archaic as the primitive cell in the monastery on the Blasket 
Islands, from which it was taken. Another chalice, also of stone, 
is preserved in the same Museum, and this is gracefully decorated.*!" 
The earliest notices of metal chalices in Ireland appear to be 
those referred to in Keating's "History of Ireland," where it is 
stated that in the reign of Flann Sinna (A.D. 877 to 914)? Cormac 
MacCullinain King, Bishop of Cashel, bestowed a gold and silver 
chalice on Lismore, and bequeathed a gold and silver chalice to 
Cashel. . However, bronze chalices seem to have been in use in 
the seventh century in the Irish Church. St. Gall assigned as his 
reason for declining to use silver vessels in the service of the 
altar that his master, St. Columbanus, was accustomed to use 
vessels of bronze. No chalice of the early Church exists in 
Scotland ; but it is said that a chalice of bronze and a glass bowl 
were dug up in the churchyard of Kiagoldrum, in Forfarshire, in 
1843, "which have unfortunately disappeared. 

It is much to be regretted that the date of the two finest 
examples of the goldsmith's work of Christian Ireland cannot 
be fixed by reference to such inscriptions as are found on the 
other relics we have described. 

The Tara brooch, and the chalice of Ardagh, give us no name 
of king or ecclesiastic for whom they were wrought ask no prayer 
for the artist by whom they were designed They have no later 
history coming down through generations of hereditary custodians. 

* An example of a chalice of glass may be seen in the church of Sta. 
Anastasia in Rome, said to have belonged to St. Jerome. 

t See *' Handbook of Irish Antiquities. 35 W. F. \Vakeman, p. 161 


Eoth of these exquisite works were discovered accidentally by 
^ecsart?. The Tara brooch was found on the 24th of August, 
:S>3, bv the child of a poor woman, who picked it up near the 
sea-shore ; she afterwards sold it to a watchmaker in Drogheda, 
ar.^ it is now preserved in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy. 
The chalice was found by a boy digging potatoes, near the old 
Rath of Ardagh. We are therefore obliged to turn to other 
forms of evidence before we can offer any theory as to the 
date of these objects and their place in the history of Irish 

The further the study of archaeology advances, the more 
possible it becomes to trace the existence and history of certain 
laws, which may be applied with more or less confidence to 
the formation of chronological classification of the objects they 
are dealing with. The first step in this direction should be to 
place in regular order the series of objects whose date has 
been already ascertained, so that they may serve afterwards as 
landmarks, starting-points for the future classification of undated 

In each of the various classes of antiquities of Christian 
Ireland, some examples may be found, the date of which is 
fixed by the inscriptions that they bear ; certain variations take 
place in the style and decoration, by which these variously dated 
examples are characterised variations in the compositions of 
the metals, in the methods of working the metals in the enamels, 
and in the designing of the patterns and scrolls with which the 
surface was adorned. It is found, on a comparative study of the 
relics whose date is more or less fixed, that such designs as are 
held to be peculiarly characteristic of Irish Art are not common 
to every period in the history of its development, but are con- 
fined to a more limited space of time than has been hitherto 
believed. The reader should refer to the close of this work, 
where he will find a table with a chronological arrangement of 
those examples of Irish illuminated manuscripts, metal-work, 


sculptured crosses, tombstones, and architecture, the dares of 
which have been approximately fixed. 

This table is seen to cover a period extending from the fifth 
to the twelfth century, and commences with the rudest example 
of metal-work we can see the iron Bell of St. Patrick. It is 
remarkable that the primitive Christian metal-work should have 
been of so barbarous a character, since we know that the Irish 
had already attained to great skill in the art of design and the 
working of metals, as well as in various processes of enamelling 
before the coming of Patrick. The bronzes of the late Celtic 
period have never been surpassed in the metal-work of the 
Christian period in Ireland, and many of their processes appear 
to have been totally different from those introduced with 
Christianity. After this new system had had time to settle and 
bear fruit, we find the arts of filigree, damascening, mosaic, glass- 
work, and enamelling are brought to much excellence. Interlaced 
designs are introduced which never appear in the pre-Christian 
Art of Ireland, and it would seem to be the case that they came 
into Ireland with the first missionaries, since similar patterns 
characterise the early Christian Art of the north of Italy, and 
were probably Roman in origin. Indeed, designs formed of kno's 
and plaited bands are common in the primitive Art of many and 
various races. 

Mr. Franks observes : "The art of enamelling on metal does 
not equal in antiquity that of glass-making; we are, in fact, 
scarcely able to show that it existed previous to the Christian era. 
either by documents or the still more satisfactory evidence of the 
objects themselves." 

The Greeks appear to have had some slight knowledge of 
enamelling, for the exquisite gold necklaces, which have been 
principally found in tornbs in the island of Melos, are orna- 
mented with minute flowers, the petals of which contain a 
vitreous substance. It was probably fused with a blowpipe, and 
at a low temperature. It is not till the third century after Christ 


that we obtain any direct mention of the art of enamelling. 
Ph:io?:rstus. a Greek sophist, who had been attracted to Rome 
/T the court of Julia Domna, wife of Severus, has left a curious 
w-rk entitled k The Icones." in which he describes a series of 
paintings ; one of them is a boar hunt ; and, after mentioning the 
variegated trappings of the horses, he adds: " They say that the 
l^trbarians who live in (or by) the ocean, pour these colours on 
to heated brass, and that they adhere, become as hard as stone, 
.".i;: preserve the designs which are made in them." (Icones, I. 
or., xx vi::. ; 

A very elegant vessel, once enamelled, was found in 1838 in 
the sea, at Ambleteuse, off the coast of Normandy, in company 
wit.i newly-struck coins of Tacitus; which would fix its date to 
about A.D. 276. 

"The ancient processes," continues Mr. Franks, "appear to 
have lingered in Ireland, as we find some of the details of these 
earlier shrines executed in enamel. j; 

The advance of any decorative Christian Art in Ireland was 
but gradual. As we have already shown in one instance, nothing 
can exceed the rudeness of those relics of the early teachers of 
religion that have been preserved for us through the care of their 
relic-loving successors in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. 
T:ie iron and bronze Bells of St. Patrick or of St. Columba of 
t'.ie rlfth and sixth centuries are as inferior to the bronze Bell of 
Cumascach Mac Ailello, A.D. 904, as the uncemented stone 
oratory is to the Romanesque church of the twelfth ; and we 
read of crosier?, but find them to have been the oaken staff of 
the itinerant bishop which is still visible through. the chinks 
and openings of the metal case in which it was afterwards 

But perhaps nothing helps the mind more vividly to realise 
:he simple practices of these early Christians than the sight and 
touch of the rude stone chalices, such as have been preserved to 
the present date in a few of our most remote churches. Decora- 

live Christian Art grew to gradual perfection from the ninth to 
the tenth centuries, and it is interesting to see that it had been 
grafted on the pagan Art of pre-Christian Ireland, and that 
certain designs (besides those interlaced patterns which we hold 
to have been of foreign importation'., common in the native Art 
and in the bronzes of the late Celtic period, were used by 
workers in metal of the Christian perisd, and carried :o great 
perfection in the illuminations of me rescripts. These native 
designs, however, are not seen at so lare a date as the interlaced 
patterns, and rarely, if ever, appear in the eleventh and twelfth 
centuries-, which period was distinguished by the nnest interlaced 
work. In the ornament which enriched the surface of such 
examples of architecture, sculpture, and metal-work as bear 
evidence of having been executed before the year ic2c ? we in- 
variably find one distinguishing design which fell into disuse 
after the date 1050. This has been termed the divergent spiral, 
or trumpet pattern. 

This design consists of two lines wound in a spiral, on leaving 
which the two lines diverge, and at the end of the space is a curve, 
formed by the parting of the lines, like the mouth of a trumpet. 
Then the lines converge again, whirling to a centre where they 
turn, and, winding back again, diverge and converge as before, 
thus forming a design the lines of which may be carried on in an 
infinite series of circles and curves, the opening spaces of which 
are filled with colour by the illuminator or with enamel by the 
goldsmith. This design is found on the late Celtic and pre- 
Roman works of Britain, i.e. between B.C. 200 and A.D. 200. 
During the Roman occupation of Britain it seems to have be- 
come extinct in that country ; but it lived on in Ireland, and 
works in metal, marked by it, may belong to the third century. 

It must be remembered also that in Ireland there are two 
distinct modifications of this design, one appearing on the 
bronze and gold ornaments of apparently pre-Christian Art, 
the other on decidedly Christian monuments down to the 


eleventh and twelfth centuries, and there are stone monu- 
ments in Ireland where the transition from one to the 
other may be clearly traced In the oldest variety the large 
curves of the diverging lines formed the essential element 
favoured by the artist; in the second, and later variety, the 
curved spaces were treated as secondary to the spiral, and instead 
of one whirl round the centre, you have twelve or more. After 
t:e tenth, and perhaps the beginning of the eleventh century, this 
design disappears from Irish Art, and its decay and death may 
be traced in monuments whose dates have been satisfactorily 
ascertained. Thus there is no trace of the divergent spiral upon 
the shrine of St. Manchan, circa 1166. Neither is there on the 
case or shrine of Dimma's book, A.D. 1150, on the Cross of 
Cong, A.D. 1123, on the stone cross of Tuam, A.D. 1123, on the 
crosier of Lismore. A.D. HOT, nor on the shrine of St. Lachtin's 
arm. A.D. 1106. 

In works of the eleventh century it scarcely ever appears. It 
is not to be found on the shrine of St. Patrick's Bell, A.D. 1091, 
nor does it appear on the Cathach of the O'Donnells. 

The design is found, very sparsely used and as if in its 
decay, upon the shiine of the Stowe Missal, A.D. 1023. It 
occurs in a more excellent form on the shrine of Molaise's 
book from Devenish, and on the crosier of Maelfmnia, of Kells, 
A.D. 967, as well as the top of the bell-shrine of Maelbrigde, of 
Ahoghill. Thirty sculptured and inscribed crosses and tomb- 
stones in Ireland have been assigned with tolerable certainty 
to dates varying from the years Sio to 1123; of these three 
belong to the ninth century, which are ornamented with this 
peculiar spiral ; seven to the tenth century, and it rarely, if ever, 
appears in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The trumpet 
pattern, or divergent spiral, is not used upon the high cross of 
Tuam, erected by Abbot O'Hoisin in memory of King Turlough 
O'Conor. It seems to have fallen into disuse before this date. 

The testimony of the illuminated MSS. as to the decay of 


this design in the tenth century is very remarkable. There is 
no trace of it in the MSS. of the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries, when interlaced patterns are still in use. It CDS not 
occur in the oldest copies extant of " Leabhar Breac/ r the ki Book 
of Ballymote," the " Book of Lecan," the : Psalter na Ram," the 
" Leabhar na Huidre," the "Book of Leinster," the "Irish Missal,"' 
in Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in the ' Irish Psalter/' British 
Museum, or the "Book of Hymns, "circa 1150, Trinity College. 
Dublin. Neither is it to be found in the i; Psalter of Ricemarch," 
in the same library, or in the ^ Chronicle of Marianus Scotus,"' 
now in the Vatican Library, Rome. It is seen in its most perfect 
development in the illuminated books of the seventh, eighth, 
and ninth centuries, but seems to die out after the year 900. 
It appears in the greatest redundance in the oldest part of the 
"Book of Kells," the date of which I begin to believe must have 
been about the year 690. It also appears in the "Book of 
Durrow," the "Gospels of Willibrord," A.D. 739: the "Book of 
Armagh," A.D. 750 to 808 ; the c: Gospels of MacRegol," A.D. 
820; the "Golden Gospels of St. Germanus," A.D. 871. now at 

The Tara brooch and the Ardagh chalice offer the most 
perfect examples of the use of this peculiar spiral that have 
been found in the metal-work of Irish Christian Art; and we 
are strongly reminded of the decoration of Irish manuscripts 
from the " Book of Kells," drc& 690, when we study them. That 
these two relics are contemporaneous one with another there can 
be little doubt. They show not only perfectly similar develop- 
ments of this spiral design, but many other points of agreement 
besides. The same filigree wire-work ; the same Trichinopoli 
chain-work ; the same circles of amber and translucent glass ; 
the same enamels, both " cloisonnes " and " champleves." (See 
Figs. 25, 26.) 

The native character which distinguishes the art of these 
works has very much disappeared from the metal-work of the 


eleventh and twelfth centuries. The shrine of St. Patrick's 
Bell and the Cross of Cong belong to a time when the trumpet 
pattern has fallen into disuse, just as it disappears from the 
illuminated manuscripts after the year icoo. 


"The Tara brooch," says Dr. Petrie, "is superior to any 
hitaerto found in the variety of its ornaments and in the 



exquisite delicacy and perfection of its execution." It is com- 
posed of a metal harder than silver, formed by a combination of 


copper and tin called white bronze. A silver chain is attached 
to it, which was intended to keep the pin tight and in its proper 


K : 

position This chain is of that peculiar construction 
known as Trichinopoli work The face of the 
ornament is overlaid with various ornamented pat- 
terns, of the same class as those found in Irish illumi- 
nated MS5-, designed with beautiful taste, and which 
are not confined to the front but also enrich the 
reverse. A lens of no moderate power is necessary 
if we would appreciate the perfect execution of these 
ornaments. There are no less than seventy-six 
varieties of these designs, all of which exhibit an 
admirable sense of ornamented beauty and happy 
fitness for their relative situations ; in the fastening 
used to keep these delicate traceries in their places 
only a delicate bar, scarcely perceptible to the 
naked eye, is found. In other places, however, and 
particularly in the circular insertions of amber, the 
gold rosettes placed upon them are fastened by pins, 
which pass through the brooch, and are riveted also 
on the opposite side. 

It should be observed that insertions of amber 
and variegated glass are frequently found in the 
jewellery of early Christian Ireland. Niello-work, 
of exquisite beauty, is also to be met with j but of 
this and the carving and casting of glass into the 
forms of human faces, such as is here seen, we have 
no other example among the personal ornaments 
hkherto found in Ireland 

One special process in common use among Roman 
glass-makers deserves to be mentioned separately, 
as affording a useful hint to modern manufacturers. 
A certain number of rods of glass, of different colours 

PT r>** 

PIN FOUND AT an( ^ sizes, were so placed together, as that a clean 
CLONMACNOIS. C ross-cut through the whole should exhibit, on the 
face of the section, a set pattern. When the bundle of rods were 


accurately placed according to design, and fixed, they were sub- 
jected to precisely that degree of heat which would soften them 
without absolutely melting, and so cement them together. The 
mass, when cold, was rapidly cut by some means into thin slices, 
each of which formed a perfect slab or tile, exhibiting on its 
surface the same pattern.* 

Mr. Longfield, of the Science and Art Museum in Dublin, has 
drawn my attention to a pin in the Petrie Collection in the Royal 
Irish Academy, which was found at Clonmacnois, and which is a 
very perfect example of glass-work. The pin is of bronze, inlaid 
with ornaments of glass (AA) ; a rose pattern, white on blue 
ground, i-Sth inch diameter, is set at either side of a dianiona- 
shaped ornament (B). consisting of a centre of 
translucent crimson glass on a diaper pattern of ^^ 
yellow and white ; at c is a star of crimson and 
blue, which ornament is repeated six times along 
the side of the pin. Here it would seem thai \. ' *j 
these pieces of coloured glass were put together ^ ^ 
so as to form a mosaic-work of canes of different HEAD OF PIN. 
colours that they were fused together and drawn CLONMACNOIS - 
out; and the pieces used in the ornament are sections of the 
canes when drawn out. 

Fig. 30 represents one of four brooches found at Ardagh, 
along with the chalice next to be noticed. t 

The workmanship upon these Ardagh brooches is larger and 
less delicate in execution than in the Tara brooch, or the chalice 
near which they were found. They do not exhibit many of the 
archaic designs found in such variety upon the older specimens, 
such as the double and divergent spirals, and the fine wire-work 
resembling Trichinopoli chain-work. This leads to the belief 
that the brooches found at Ardagh are of a later date than the 
other antiquities discovered with them. 

* Noel Humphrey's "Ten Centuries of An," p. 98. 
t Traits. Roy a.1 Irish Academy, vol. xxiv. p. 453. 


The chalice found at Ardagh belongs to that early class of 
tvro-handled cups, described in the old " Ordines Romani " as 
c^::cs wiKisirakst a form in use before the tenth century, and 
mean: for communion of the minor clergy and people, so long as 
communion under both kinds was given to the laity. (See Pig. 31.) 


This Irish chalice, which combines classic beauty of form 
with the most exquisite examples of almost every variety of 
Celtic ornamentation, is composed of an alloy of silver, which 
may be stated generally as about three parts of silver to one of 
copper. It is 7 in. in height, and 9>< in. in diameter; the foot 
is 5; ~ in. in diameter; the depth of the bowl is 4 in. 



This cup is composed of the following metals : gold, silver, 
bronze, brass, copper, and lead. The upper rim is of brass, much 
PART i. G 


decayed, and split, from some local action on that particular alloy 
of metal. The bowl is of silver, the standard value of which is 
four shillings per ounce. The ornaments cut on the silver bowl 
consist of an inscription, interlaced patterns terminating in dogs' 
heads, and at the bottom a circular band of the Greek pattern. 
The mode of ornamentation is peculiar to this cup, being done 
with a chisel and hammer, as indicated by the lines being raised 
a: each side, which could only be produced in the manner 
described. Round the cup runs a band composed of two semi- 
cyMncrica! nn~s of silver, ornamented with small annular dots 
punched out with a hollow punch. The space between the rings 
is nlled by twelve plaques of gold repousse work, with a very 
beautiful ornamentation of fine filigree wire-work, wrought on the 
front cf the re$?ussc ground, and carrying out, in its most delicate 
execution, the interlaced pattern associated with the art of this 
country. Between the plaques are twelve round enamelled 

The peculiarities of some of the enamels found on this cup 
are so interesting, that they have been specially analysed and 
described by Professor Sullivan, whose remarks we here quote : 

* The enamels of the chalice are of three kinds : 

** 1st. Round or bead, tabular or arched enamels (the latter are simply the 
tabular tent to suit the handle), of one colour, with a pattern of metal. 

fc " 2nd. Similar enamels of two colours, with a pattern of metal. 

il 3rd. Similar enaaiels of two colours, without any pattern of metal. 

f 4 The r&: class is formed of a bead or tabular piece of coloured transparent 
glass imo the upper surface of which was pressed, while in a soft state, a 
chambered cr cloi;onn pattern, cut out of a piece of solid silver the spherical 
or fiat surface was afterwards polished. This kind may be considered to be a 
peculiar variety of the em&ux cloisonnes^ the ' cloisons ' not being, however, 
formed by soldering together slips of metal, and soldering the pattern on a 
plute cf inetal, or ground, but being cut out of a single piece of metal, which 
is then pressed into the softened surface of the enamel 3 which rises up into 
and nils the open framework of the pattern. 

" The second kind was made by taking a piece of silver of the proper 
size, and cutting our the pattern ; one part entirely, and the other not quite 
through, so as to form in the first case, an open frame-work, and in the second 
Mule hollows or chambers ; this pattern was then pressed into the softened 


surface of a bead, a flat tabular piece, or arched piece of translucent blue- 
coloured glass ; this glass up the open ' cloisons,' as in the first kind above 
described. The little hollows or chambers, formed by not cutting the metal 
quite through, were then filled by a more fusible opaque enamel, which did 
not come into contact with the translucent or basic enamel. This variety 
may be considered as a union of the peculiar variety of Imaux c+cizonnss 
represented by No. I, and of the emaux en taiUe tfepergne or emcsix en 
champlevcS) the base or translucent glass being much less fusible than the 
second, or * champleve ' enamel, which, as has been observed above, is opaque. 
" The third kind consists of flat, tabular, or arched pieces of translucent glass 
(coloured blue), on the surface of which was engraved (Mr. Johnson says 


'impressed'), in 'intaglio,' a design or pattern, which was afterwards filled up 
with another coloured and opaque enamel. This is an interesting variety of 
the emaux champleves in which glass is substituted for metal as the base in 
which the pattern is incised. In this case the translucent glass and opaque 
enamel are brought into direct contact, and show a considerable amount of 
skill in producing glasses of different degrees of fusibility. 

"There appear to be no specimens of pseudo cloisonne enamel on the 
chalice, that is, enamels in which the glasses are cemented into the ( cloisons,' 
and not fused into them ; they are rather mosaics than enamels. This variety 
is essentially Oriental, and appears not to have been at all practised in Gaul, 
where, undoubtedly, true enamels were made anterior to the Roman domina- 
tion, and when they were not used apparently in Rome or Greece. 

"It is generally very difficult to distinguish between true enamels and 

G 2 


p?s*j;dc-enssiels, or mosaics, which have been long exposed to the action of 
the durcp, etc., cs the very fusible enamels are easily decomposed by water 
c:r*:i:r.;sc carl >n;c nci-i, leaving along the points of contact of the metal 
v ith :he class n residue, o"f:en so like cement as to deceive the most skilled 

The handles of this chalice are composed of enamels (similar 
to those in the borders) and plaques of gold filigree work of the 
same style, but different in design. Each handle has four circular 
pieces of blue glass, underneath which the rivets are secured 
which fasten the handles to the bowl. Round the enamels was a 
circle of amber, divided into eight spaces by pieces of bronze, 
which has been eaten away. One of the enamels has a circle of 
g^Id grains at the top, which has been pressed in while the glass 
wr.s in fusion. The two circular ornaments on the side of the 
bowl are of gold nligree work of the very finest kind, with an 
enamelled boss in the centre ; the frames which hold them are of 
silver. There are four settings at equal distances, which are 
receivers of the rivets that secure it to the bowl. In the settings 
were two pieces of blue glass (the same as in the handles), and 
two pieces of amber, which have fallen out. 

The stem and supports of the bowl are of bronze metal, gilt, 
beautifully carved in interlaced and knotted patterns. They are 
attached to the bowl by a bronze gilt ball, with a strong square 
tang, and most ingeniously fastened by an iron bolt, which 
secures all together. 

The foot is of silver, circular, with a framework on the outer 
rim, having eight spaces, which are filled alternately with gold and 
bronze gilt plaques of open work ; behind them pieces of mica 
are inserted, which throw out more clearly the very beautiful 
pierced designs with which these plaques are ornamented. The 
intermediate spaces contain enamels (inferior to those in the 
upper part of the bowl;, set in bronze. 

In the inside of the foot of the bowl is a circular crystal, 
round which there has been a circle of amber, divided into 
twelve tablets, with a bronze division between each tablet; 


surrounding this is a circle in gold filigree of the same style and 
workmanship as those already described. The next circle had 
tablets of amber, but they have all fallen out. In the space 
between this and the silver is a circular bronze plate, highly 
carved and gilt, in which are fine enamels in green. 

The extreme outer edge, like the reverse side. Is divided into 
eight spaces, in which are pieces somewhat similar to the gold 
plaques on the opposite side, with this difference, that six are in 
silver, and two in copper; two of the silver pieces are of :he most 
beautiful plated wire-work I have ever met with. Between tho^e 
spaces are square pieces of blue glass, underneath which are 
ornamented pieces of wrought silver, which give them a brilliant 
appearance when in strong light. Between the circles which form 
the upper and under surfaces of the rim of the foot are plates of 
lead to secure and give weight to the whole. The enamels on 
the foot of the cup are of a coarse kind, the pattern being 
impressed in the glass, and the enamel melted into it. The 
number of pieces of which the cap is composed amounts to 354. 
including 20 rivets. 

oz. dwt. 
\Veight of gold ----12 

Silver 20 13 

Bronze 9 o 

The analysis of the different metals gives as follows : 

Gold, between 18 and 19 carat fine, value per oz. $ 4^. 
Silver, bad quality, averaging from 3^. $d. to $s. 3^^. per oz. 
Lead has 12 grams of silver in the Ib. troy. 

Bronze has 2 grams of silver in the Ib. troy, a small portion of tin, arvi 
the balance in copper. 

Gold assay 

oz. dwt. 

Fine gold in the Ib. - - > S 16 
Fine silver - 2 16 

Copper 08 

12 o 

or in each oz. there is, 

dwt. gr. 

Fine gold 14 16 

Fine silver - - - 4 16 

Copper - - o 16 

20 o 
Silver assay 

Of the rivets c.t the handles, 4 oz. 9 dwt. worse in the Ib. troy, 

s:anaaid value, 3^. 32. per oz. 
Of the setting round the borders, 6 dwt. better in Ib. troy, standard 

value, 5.-. 3/;'jr*. per 02. 
Of the piece of the border that encircles the bowl, 3 oz. worse, standard 

value, 4J. o.f. per cz. 
Of the small setting on the handle, 4 oz. worse, standard value, 

3.-. 5; 2 "-' per cz. 

Underneath the boss which fastens the bowl to the stand there 
wis a very slight trace of oil in the bottom of the bowl. 

The ornamental designs upon this cup belong to the Celtic 
school of Art, which, according to Dr. Petrie, reached its highest 
perfection as regards metal-work in this country in the tenth and 
eleventh centuries. Of these designs there are about forty 
different varieties, all showing a freedom of inventive power and 
;;.:A- of fancy only to be equalled by the work upon the so-called 
Tcira brooch. These designs may be classified under three 
heads : 

i. Rectilinear. 

The Greek fret pattern. 

The step pattern, characteristic of Etruscan Art; eight 

The triangular pattern or the Celtic modification of the 

Greek fret, in diagonal lines ; three varieties. 
2. Curvilinear. 

Single line spiral. 

Divergent spiral, or trumpet pattern ; two varieties. 
Interlaced bands and knots ; eleven varieties, some of 
which are found in filigree wire on gold plates. 


Triquetra; four of them interlaced so as to form a cross. 
This was a favourite design in Art of the tenth 
century on the Continent, as well as in this country ; 
it appears in a French manuscript written about the 
year 900, preserved at Rheims. It is also found at 
Clonmacnois, on the cross of Maelfinnia, who died in 
the year 992, and on other tombstones, dating from 
the years 860 to 900. 
3. Arabesque patterns in filigree. 

Of designs taken from natural forms nothing is more remark- 
able than the absence of foliate patterns in the Irish metal-work 
Defore the thirteenth century, although they occur in the great 
illuminated manuscripts of the Celtic school, and on some of the 
stone crosses. Animal forms, however, are used, though sparingly, 
in the designs which are chased upon the silver bowl of this cup. 
There are two varieties of birds, with heads, necks, and legs 
elongated, and interlaced; and also animal forms interlaced. 
There are four dragons' heads, with sharp teeth which bear a 
strong resemblance to drawings of similar objects in the "Book 
of Armagh " : also dogs, whose long protruding tongues form a 
knot above their heads. 

Besides these ornamental designs there are two pieces of 
plaited silver wire, bearing a strong resemblance to Trichinopoli 
work. There are two other examples of this kind of Art, in the 
form of chains ; one attached to the so-called Tara brooch, the 
other in the Petrie Collection. 

Tha most interesting, as well as remarkable feature of the 
cup, is the inscription already referred to. The letters are rather 
more than half an inch in length and are beautifully preserved, 
though the lines are very delicate and the outline faint Their 
shape is clearly marked out by the stippling, which forms a 
shaded background to them. The inscription runs thus : 

Petri, Pauli, Andri, Jacobi, Johannis, Piliphi, Bartholomei, 
Thorns, Mathei, Jacobi, Tatheus, Simon. 


This list of the Twelve Apostles is found in the commemoration in 
the Canon of the Mass ; but in the Roman Missal the names are 
placed cificrentiy. thus : 

Fetri, F^uli, Andrre, Jacobi, Joannis, Philippi, 
Lartholomxi, Thomse, Matthsei, Jacobi, 
Thiddrei, Sitnonis. 

It is also in the Litany of the Saints as given in an old Irish 
MS. at Sr. Gall, but there is a slight difference in the order of the 
r.:.:iies. It is also found in the Bobio Missal printed by Mabillon, 
k 'Mu.-eum It^licum " (t. i. 279), the only difference being that 
the crder of names at the end slightly varies. 

No example has hitherto been found in Great Britain of the 
?;/r.e class as this exquisite chalice. Indeed, with a few excep- 
tions, such as the chalice in the Abbey of Witten in the Tyrol, 
this is a unique example of the two-handled chalices used in the 
tsrliest Christian times. 

For illustrations and further particulars of this chalice, see 
Paper by Edwin, third Earl of Dunraven "Transactions of the 
Royal Irish Academy," vol. xxiv. p. 433 (1869). 


OOK-SHRIXES appear to be of rare occur- 
rence save in Ireland. Elsewhere we find 
that the sacred writings had splendid bind- 
ings ; one side at least being often of silver 
or gold, studded with jewels, so that the 
book thus covered added to the general 
splendour of the altars on which they were 
placed. But a different sentiment seemed 
at work in Ireland, where the book was held 
as a sacred heirloom by the successors of 
the Patron Saint, whose memory they had 
cherished for perhaps five hundred years. Here 
the old book was left untouched, as something whose value 


could not be increased by gold or precious stones ; bur a 
box was made on which was lavished all the artist's skill, 
and in this the sacred relic was preserved. One case, that 
called the Cathach, was fastened so that the book was hermeti- 
cally sealed from view ; and into the minds of its possessors, the 
chieftains of Tirconnell, a superstitious fear was instilled that 
some great calamity would befall them were the case once opened. 
Such precautions may be accounted for by the worn condition of 
the manuscript, and by the fact that its keepers were no: eccle- 
siastics who could read the book, but chieftains who had the 
shrine carried before them in battle by one who wore it as a 

The first cumdach we read of, the date of which can be fixed 
by any historical authority, was made for the " Book of Burrow/' 
by the king of Ireland, Flann Sinna, son of Malachv, who 
reigned between the years 877 and 916. This is now lost, but it 
was seen by Roderic O'Flaherty in 1677, who wrote the following 
memorandum on the fly-leaf of the Gospel it was made to en- 
shrine, now in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin : 

Inscriptio Hibemicis literis incisa cruci argeniece in operirnento hujus 
Libri in transversa crucis parte nomen artificis indicat ; et in lonptndine tribus 
lineis a sinistra et totidem dextra, ut sequitur : 

Oroit acits Bendacht chohtimb chilk do Fttnmd mace Maelsechnaill do 
rig Hdrenn lasa.ndc.rnad acumdachso. 

(Columb Cille's prayer and blessing for Fland. son of Maelsechnaiil, 
for the King of Ireland, by whom this case was made.) 

The next cumdach recorded is that which was made in the 
beginning of the tenth century, for the manuscript now known as 
the "Book of Armagh," and which contains several ecclesiastical 
writings, as well as the whole of the New Testament. It was 
called the "Canon of Patrick j" and in the "Annals of Four 
Masters " we read : 

"A.D. 937. Canoin Phadraig was covered by Donchadh, son of Flann, 
King of Ireland." 


The same authorities also allude to the cumdach of the 
" Book of Kells," In the following passage : 

"A.D. ioo5. The Great Gospel of Columb Cille was stolen at night 
from the western erdomb. of the Great Church of Ceannanus. This was the 
principal relic of the western world, on account of its singular cover ; and it 
was found after twenty nights and two months, its gold having been stolen ofi 
it, and a sod over it." 

The following is a list of the Irish cumdachs of which any- 
thing is known, from which we may conclude that the custom of 
making these cumdachs prevailed in Ireland from the ninth to 
the sixteenth century. The three first and oldest have un- 
fortunately disappeared : 

1. The Cundach of the "Book of Durrow." A.D. 877 to 914. 

2. The Cumdach of the "Book of Armagh." A.D. 938. 

3. The Cumdach of the " Book of Kells." A.D. 1007. 

^. The Cumdach of " Molaise's Gospels." A.D. 1001 to 1025. 

5. The Cumdach of the " Stowe Missal." A.D. 1023. 

o. The Cum Jach of "Columba's Psalter" (called the Cathach). A.D. 1084. 

7. The Cumdach of " Dimma's Book." A.D. 1150. 

S. The Cumdach of "St. Patrick's Gospels " (called Domnach Airgid). 

Q. The Cumdach of " Cairnech's Calendar " (called Miosach). A.D. 1534. 

10. The Cumdach of Caillen. 

The boxes vary from nine and a half to five and a half inches 
h length. They are of various materials : that of Durrow is 
described as having been of plated silver; that of Kells seems to 
have been plated with gold. In those examples which we still 
possess, that of Molaise is of bronze, plated with silver ; those of 
the Cathach and Dimma's book, brass plated with silver; the 
foundation is generally of bronze or brass, but in one instance, 
that of the Domnach Airgid, it is of yew wood. These cases 
were sometimes hung round the neck and worn as breastplates, 
as we know was the practice with the Cathach of the O'Donnells. 
Such portable reliquaries then belong to the class styled Encolpia. 
The use of such dates back to a very early period, as we learn 
from the Abbe Manigny, who refers to the Encotyia mentioned by 
Nicepborus, Patriarch of Constantinople, in his refutation of the 


Iconoclasts. And that there may have also existed some custom 
of enshrining sacred books in the early Church at the time of the 
introduction of Christianity into Ireland, which lived on here 
while it died out on the Continent, is borne out by the instance 
of one such book-shrine of the Gospels now preserved in the 
Basilica of Monza, which was given by Theodolinde, Queen of 
the Lombards, in the year 616 a shrine for a prayer-book may 
also be seen in the museum of this church. These relics are 
distinctly Byzantine, and there is no resemblance to Irish Art in 
their decoration. There are instances of Irish curndachs on the 
Continent, probably imported from Ireland, or the work of Irish 
clerics from the ninth to the eleventh century, who in this, as in 
other instances, appear to have brought back to the Continent 
primitive customs that had become extinct there some centuries 
before. Such is the shrine of the Gospels In the Royal Library 
of Munich, which formerly belonged to the Abbey of St. Emerau, 
of Ratisbon of the year 870, and another shrine of the Gospels 
which belonged to the Emperor Henry II. 

OLAISE of Devenish gives his name to 
the oldest of these cumdachs, or 
shrines. This case was executed 
during the abbacy of Cennfailad, which 
lasted from the year 1001 to 1025, as 
we learn from the inscription which runs 
round the bottom of the box : " Pray for 
Cenn(failad) for the successor of Molaise, 
for whom this case (was made) and for 
Gillabaithin, the artisan who made the . . J* 
The case is formed of plates of bronze ; it is oblong in 
shape, and the ornamental portions consist of plates of silver, with 
gilt patterns, riveted to the bronze foundation. On the face of 
the box the four evangelical symbols were represented with a cross 
surrounded by a circle in the centre. The names of the symbols 

FIG. 33. 


Leo, Aquila, Homo, can still be deciphered with those of the 
evangelists. Mark, Johan, Math. The order in which the symbols 
are arranged differs from that which we are now accustomed to, as 


i? of:en the case in early Christian monuments; thus In the basilica 
or S. Sabina, A.D. 424, the eagle occupies the first place, the lion 
the second, then the angel, and lastly the ox.* (See Fig. 36.) 

OOK-SHRINE of Stowe MissaL Next in date we 
have the case made to enshrine the Stowe Missal, 
the older part of which appears to have been 
executed between the years- 1023 and 1052. In 
the inscription which runs round the face of the 
box we read : " A blessing of God on every soul 
according to its merit. 

" Pray for Donchadh, son of Brian, for the 
King of Ireland. 

"And for Mace Raith, descendant of Dorm- 
FIG. 35/^1 ciiad > for &e Kin g of Cashel. 

* Tais^ cumdach has been in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy since 
e ^ lS59 ' when it: was obtained through the intervention of the Lord Bishop 
cf Kilmore. It has been described and illustrated in "Archseologia," vol. xliii. 



" Pray for Dunchad, descendant of Taccan, of the fan::ly of 
Cluain, who made this. 


" Pray for ... nain descendant of Cat ... for whom it was 
made and for ... (and for the descendants of T ... kch)." 

Here a prayer is askejl for Donagh, son of Brian Borumha, 
who was originally king of Munster, in conjunction with his 


brother Tadhg, whom he delivered to the men of Ely O'Carroll, 
"who accordingly killed him, as was desired of them by his 
brother Donagh." - Ann. of Four Mast., A.D. 1023. 

After procuring this murder he became king of Ireland, and 
held the throne till the year 1064, when we read that "he was 
deposed, and he afterwards went to Rome, where he died, under 
the victory of penance, in the monastery of Stephen the Martyr. 
The second name mentioned is that of MacRaith O'Donoghoe, 
Lord of Eoghanacht of Cashel, and crown prince of Munster, 
whose death is recorded by the Four Masters at the year 1052. 
'This fact," says Dr. Todd, " still further limits the date of this 
side of the box to the twenty-nine years between 1023 to 1052. 
Of Dunchad O'Tagain, the next name mentioned, we know 
nothing more than that he was a monk of Clonmacnois and the 
silversmith by whom the box was made. 

This cumdach is held to have belonged originally to the 
monastery of Lorrha, in the county of Tipperary, whence it may 
have been carried at a subsequent period to the Irish monastery 
of Ratisbon. It was found in Austria by Mr. John Grace, 
officer in the Austrian service in the year 1784, who died without 
leaving any memorandum respecting the monastery or library 
where he discovered it. Dr. O'Conor obtained it from the family 
of Mr. John Grace for the library of the Duke of Buckingham, 
whence it passed into the possession of the Earl of Ashburnham, 
and it has now been deposited in the Museum of the Royal Irish 

This case, or cumdach, is made of oak, covered with plates of 
silver. The lower and more ancient side is divided into four 
compartments by cross bands, leaving the inscriptions above 
mentioned. These have been mutilated at their intersection to 
make way for a crystal set in an oval frame, of the same work- 
manship and evidently of the same date as the top of the box. 

* See Perrie's " Christian Inscriptions of Ireland." Edited by M Stoke- 
\ol. 11. p. 93. 



The upper side of the box is also divided into four compamnents, 
covered with engraved silver plates, but is evidently much later in 
date. The Crucifixion, and the Virgin Mary, crowned and holding 
a globe in her right hand, are here represented along w::h a 



figure of a saint holding a book and a bishop raising his right 
hand in the act of benediction, while in his left he holds a staff. 

Next in date to this cumdach is another and a larger case, 
made to contain the Cathach of the O'Donnells, a copy of the 
Psalter, so called because it was carried into battle by the army 


of Cenel Conaill, ik hung on the breast of a hereditary lay 
successor of a priest without mortal sin (so far as he could help)," 
as we read in O'DonnelFs " Life of St. Columba." The inscription 
on this box asks " a prayer for Cathbarr Ua-Domnaill, for whom 
this case was made ; for Sitric, son of Mac-Aeda, who made it ; 
for Domnali, son of Robartach; for the successor of Kells, for 
whom it was made." 

Domnali, the successor of Columba at Kells, is also named 
in the second charter entered in the " Book of Kells," where the 
grant of land to the Church of Kells is recorded. This charter 
cannot be of a later date than 10845 to which period this reliquary 
may safely be assigned. 

No example of a cumdach has yet been found in Scotland, 
although the custom of thus enshrining their sacred books must 
have extended to that country, since we find two notices of such 
in the ancient records. Thus, in the u Aberdeen Martyrology," 
the "Gospel of St. Matthew belonging to St. Ternan"is described 
as enclosed in a metal case, covered with silver and gold ; and 
it is said in Bowers continuation of Fordun, that the Gospels of 
St. Andrew's were covered by Bishop Fothad before 960. With 
these exceptions the type seems peculiar to Ireland 


The history and authenticity of the old Irish crosiers generally 
rests on the same foundation as that of the ecclesiastical bells. 
Certain privileges, grants of land and others, appertained to the 
custodianship of the relic committed in the beginning to some 
servant of the monastery in whose family the office and its 
emoluments descended, through successive generations, down to 
the present century. In Scotland the title of this office was 
dewar, a word derived from deoratt, a stranger, pilgrim, exile. 
The crosier of St. Fillan, of Strathfillan, in Perthshire, and of 
FertuIIagh, Westmeath, in Ireland, was itself called quigrich, 


signifying the stranger, and was in the keeping of the Debars, 
a family whose name was derived from the ofnce of custodian 

held by their ancestors. The word deoradh dewar first allied 

to the representatives of those who took the pern's star*, and 


died upon their pilgrimage, reminds us that the crosier encrusted 
to them was, not the pastoral crook of other churches, but the 
Irish pilgrim's staff. The crosier of Dympna of Te Darner, in 
the county of Monaghan, was thus an heirloom in the family 
of O'Luan, the hereditary keepers of the relic, till the last repre- 
sentative, whose name was changed to Lamb 3 sold it to Dr. 
PART i. H 





Fetrie; so also ^ith the crosiers of St. Tola, founder of Disert 
O'Dea, whose hereditary keeper was of the family of O'Quinn ; 
the crosier of Columba of Burrow, obtained from the custodian 
in the MacGeoghegan family. The crosier of Colman Mac- 
Duach, founder of the church of Kilmacduach, in Gal way, was 
obtained from the O'Heynys 
who succeeded the O'Shaugh- 
nessys in the custodianship. 

The Bachall Gearr Berach, 
or short crosier of St, Berach, 
of Termonbarry, in the count} 
of Roscommon, is one of the 
most interesting examples in 
the Museum of the Royal Irish 
Academy, since it has been 
not only handed down through 
the hereditary custodians, the 
O'Hanlys, of Slieve Ban, suc- 
cessors or erenachs of St 
Berach, but is mentioned in 
the ancient life of the saint 
given by Colgan. "Act. SS./' 
p. 345, February i5th. The 
artificer, Dagaeus. at whose 
school Berach was trained, 
when sending his pupil to 
Kevin of Glendalough for 
further instruction, is de- 
scribed as giving him this " short crosier," along with a bell, 
called Berach' s bell. "After some time," says the legen;. "hj 
was directed by an angel, in a vision, to follow a certain dcj.r 
whom he would find at the entrance of the monastery. This c^-r 
led him to a certain spot in the county of Roscommon, since 
called Termon Berach, and then disappeared/' The ruins of 

H 2 



s-me small churches are still to be seen there ; and there was a 
round tower standing within the memory of some of the inhabi- 
tants, in the year 1837. This crosier is a staff of yew wood, 
covered with brass ; there is very little sign of decoration, and 
the crest of the handle is missing ; it measures twenty-one inches 
in Her jth. 

T;:e Hstcry of St. Grellan's crosier, of Ahascra, in the county 
cf Gal way. Is another instance proving that in Ireland, as well 
c:s Scotland, these objects were regarded as sacred vexilta, or 
La :tLe- ensigns. As the Israelites carried the Ark of the Covenant 
into battle in the belief that victory would be secured to therrf 
by its presence, so the Christians of the early Celtic Church used 
to carry before them in their conflicts certain relics of their 
saints, which, on that account, received the suggestive title of 
C'j^j^s, or battlers. Thus, the shrine of St. Columba's psaltei 
was carried before the O : Donnells so lately as 1497. Hanging 
on the breast of its hereditary keeper, it was sent thrice rightwise 
round the army of Columba's clan of the Cinel Conall. The 
crosier cf St. Filian is said to have been borne before the Scots 
on the field of Bannockburn ; and the sacred cross of St. 
Margaret was borne with the Scottish Army, when King David II. 
invaded England in 1346. 

When St. Grellan, a contemporary of Patrick, established 
Maine Mor, the ancestor of the Hy Maine and his people in 
the territory of the Firbolg race, the old life of the saint relates 
how he said that, on condition that they would protect and 
"requent his sacred church, his blessing would rest on their 
<f agile race, the sons of Maine of the chessboards/'* adding : 

"That race shall not be subdued, so as they carry my crosier. 

'Let the battle-standard of the race be my crosier ot true 

'And battles will not overwhelm them; their successes shall 
be very great" 

In the t Customs of Hy Many/' from the *' Book of Lecan," 
compiled for MacFirbis (circa 1468), we read: "The race of 


Maine . - Sf. Grellan presides over their battles,'"' i.e. the crosier 
of St. Grellan i? borne in the standard of the kings of Hy Many. 

Dr. Lynch, writing about the year 1660, mentions that this 
pastoral staff was held in veneration in his day, and that the 
irarge was stamped upon the standard of the O Kellys. The 
staff itself remained with the family of the hereditary keepers, 
O'Crcngaile (anglice^ Cronelly), till 1836, near Ahascrs, in the 
tast of the county of Gahvay, but it has disappeared. 

The next example of Irish ornamental metal-work, the date of 
which may be surmised from the inscription which it bears, is the 
crosier of Kells, in the County Meath. Before describing this 
relic, we may say a few words on the peculiarities of the 
crosier in general. This staff was not designed to represent ihe 
shepherd's crook, only to be carried as an emblem of episcopal 
functions, but it was the covering made to protect the old oak 
staff or walking-stick of the founder of the church in which it 
had been preserved. Thus the form differs from that of the 
ordinary mediaeval crosier, the top of which, imitating the 
shepherd's crook, takes the curve of an S reversed, a double 
curve, not the mere crook-handle of the Irish staff. Xo example 
of a crosier in the form adopted in the East not crooked, but 
shaped like a letter T has been found in Ireland; and the 
probability is that the "crook-like" staff of the first Christian 
missionary is alluded to in an ancient prophecy preserved by the 
Scholiast on Fiacc's Hymn (seeTodd's "Life of St. Patrick"), and 
the oldest representations of crosiers preserve the same form 
representations, such as may be seen on the box or cumdach of 
the Stowe Missal, on the tympanum of the priest's house at 
Glendalough, and on the ancient doorway of Maghera, The 
foreign type, as we have it in the crosiers of Cashel and 
Glendalough,* was probably introduced in the time of St. Malachy 
the friend of Bernard of Clairvaux.t 

Although no metal crosier, except perhaps that of St. Berach, 

* Now in Museum of the Royal Irish. Academy. 

t Sec Petrie, "Essay on the Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland." 


has been found, the date of which is believed to be older than 
the close of the tenth and beginning of the eleventh century, yet 
- it would appear from a passage in St. Bernard's "Life of Malachy," 
referring to the Staff of Jesus, taken in conjunction with another 
passage in an old Irish poem, copied before the year 844, that 
this staff also was of metal. St. Bernard speaks of it as one of 
the insignia of the See of Armagh in the following words : 
il Porro Xigellus. videns sibi imminere fugam, tulit secum insignia 
lyjsedam aedis illius, textum, scilicet Evangeltorum qui fuit beati 
Patrici:, baculumque auro tectum, et gemmis pretiosissimis 
adornatum: cuem nominant baculum Jesu, eo quod ipse Dominus 
(ut fert opinio) eum suis manibus tenuerir. atque forma verit." 
In the poem of St. Fiacc. which was annotated in the ninth 
century, it is stated that St. Tassach, said to have lived in the 
fifth century, was skilled in the goldsmith's art, and that it was 
he who first adorned it with a precious covering. From this 
passage, it may with safety be concluded, that such a crosier of 
metal was in existence, about the year 844, when Ferdomnach, 
scribe of the " Book of Armagh," in which this poem occurs, died. 
According to Doctor Anderson, Scotland can only boast 
of two crosiers, that of St. Fillan, found at Killin, at the head 
of Loch Tay, and a fragment now preserved in the Edinburgh 
Museum. He illustrates another, which he says is of Irish 
origin, but which in any case is of extraordinary interest as 
exhibiting three periods in the history of Christian Art in these 
islands. First, the wooden staff; secondly, the covering of 
delicate and beautiful design of the best period of Irish Art ; 
thirdly, the outer case of fourteenth century work, into the panels 
of which the exquisite filigree golden traceries, taken from the 
older cover beneath, are fitted. The earliest of these in date 
appears to be that which is now preserved in the British Museum, 
inscribed with the names Maelfinnia, and Condulig. There was 
a Bishop of Kells, successor of Ultan and Carnech, named 
Maelfiania, whose death is recorded in the Annals of Ulster, as 


having occurred in the year 967. This crosier is an eld oak 
stick cased in silver, with an open work formed of interlaced 
birds terminating at the upper end in a male head, and in the 
lower in that of an animal. Below this there is a knob decorated 
with trumpet pattern designs and interlacings inlaid with silver 
and niello. The lower end appears to be a solid piece of brass 
with bands of inlaid silver. It terminates with three little feet. 
The crosier would seem to have been carried over the shoulder, 
consequently the central knob, and not the upper one, is rubbed 
and worn by handling. 

The relic known as the crosier of Lismore. the date of which 
may be inferred from the inscription which it bears, was me 
crosier of Bishop Niall of Lismore. 

The inscription runs thus : " Pray for Niall, son of Mac 
Aeducain, for whom this work of art was made. Pray for Xectan, 
the artisan, who made this work of art." 

Mac Mic Aeducain, who appears to have held the Bishopric of 
Lismore for twenty-three years, succeeded Maelduin, who died 
in 1090, and he himself died in 1113. It may be concluded 
that the crosier which bears this inscription was made during the 
period of his bishopric. 

IKE the Cross of Cong, this relic, which is 
one of the finest examples of the goldsmith's 
art that has been found in Ireland, is 
divided into compartments which would 
seem to have been filled in with interlaced 
filigree work, the little pins with which 
these portions were secured being still left. 
The crosier measures 3 ft. 4 in. in length, 
and consists of a case of pale-coloured 
bronze which enshrines an old oak stick, 
probably the original staff of the founder 
of Lismore, St. Carthach, otherwise Mochuda. Most of the 


ornaments -re richly gi't, interspersed with 
ethers of silver and nieho, a:: 1 ! bosses 
of cil'jured enameis. The crook ?: the 
star: is : ordered with a row of grotesque 
a:: : :::^>. like lizards cr dr:^:ns. one of 

Mr. L^rgr.eld rerr^r";?. on the glass 
heads in the Lismore crcsier, that they 
see::: tc be rr:c.ce in -/uite another v;ay 

fr::;: rhat seen in the broitze :,in InLiid 

are ^a*< :nh.:d into ..hiss on the same 
pr:n:rfe as ihe Henri Deux, or Oiron 
faience in pottery. 

One of the finest as we; I as the best 
preserved Irish crosiers in existence is that 
of the Abbots of Clonmacnois, now in the 
Mu?eurn of the Rcyal Irish Academy. 

The shrine of the so-ca'.led Arm of 
St. Lnchtin is another fine example of the 
metal-work of about the same date which 
was preserved in St. Lachtir/s church of 
Donaghrriore, in the county of Cork, and 
is r.v.v in the Museum of the Royal Irish 
Academy. It is described in vol. vi. of 
the "Vetusta Monumenta" in the follow- 
ing words : " It is of brass or bronze ; the 
hand, which is riveted to the arm at the 
wrist, being inlaid, in me nails, the palm, 
:id at the back, and round the wrist with 
silver. The upper end of the arm is also 
ornamented with the same metal, and 
with a row of bluish-grey stones resem- 
b;ic~ the chalcedony, and there appears to have been a second 
row cf stones above the ether. Riveted across the centre of the 

n ;. 41. 




r.nri ; s a broai band with kn-:t in r? v e'; 
and down the arm are 10 ar rLt, nanx- l ~ 
nlleS. at equal distances, rivetr:, r*-vi: , 
ir scrip: ions in the Irish characters upon 
them. Nearly the whole of the srm. the 
silver ^arts as well s.s those o r bronze, 
are ornamented with various engraved 
rlgures, mosily knots and scroll-work ; an 1 
at the upper end, between the rows o: 
stoats, arc animal forms. 

The roDt of the arm was fastened bv 
a circular cap, the face of which is inlai i 
with silver, the centre having mosaic worx: 
surrounded by silver niigree. The in- 
scriptions have been thus read : 

" Pray for Mi-eLsechnaii, descendant of 
Cellachan, for the hi/h kinj. and for 
Cormac, son of MacCarthaig : namely, for 
the Crown prince of Miinster for Tadg, 
son of . . . , for the king , . . , for 
Diarmait, son of MacDenisc : for the 
successor of . . . : 

One of the most remarkable of the 




Irish r^l : ^ur,ries is the shrine of St. Mogue or Breac Mcedcc, 
v,v.:^h v,as a case made, so says the legend, for preserving 
c;::r-:r. relics, brought by St. Molaise from Rome to his friend 
lucei.c, then Abbot of Ferns. This shrine was preserved for 
centuries in Druinhne, and was stolen In the present century 
froni the Roman Catholic priest of that parish. In form, the 
shrine closely resembles that of the old church of Druir.lane, 
no-vY in ruins, being indeed the usual form of the shrines or 
C' rjv.v of L::r..?zes work cf later date. The height of this 
rel:;u;:rv is ~ : J in.. length $" in., breadth of the base 3jj in. 
The front -AT^ c:vered \v:t>i ngures, twenty-one in number, 
.:rrarged in three rows. These on the lowest line are of pale 
/rcnze, -vhile the t\\D upper ones, though of the same metal, are 
much redder in cc'.cur from the deficiency of tin in the alloy. 
The back was covered by a pattern, consisting of parallelograms 
cf pierced rectangular crosses. The same design is found at the 
> ?::om of the shrine. The pierced work is of bronze, the border 
cf the ba?e his a ground of red enamel, the margins, knots, and 
squares hein^ of bronze gilt: while the pattern within the squares 
is formed by four smaller squares of blue glass, apparently cast 
in z mould and disposed alternately with five others of red and 
-h::e tnar/.eh The "fylfot" in the base, which still remains in 
ihe centre of the border on one side, is enamelled in blue on a 
gold ground, surrounded by alternate lines of the same colour. 
The third group represents three female saints, in uniform 
costume; their hair hangs in long curls, and as Mr. O'Hanlpn in the 
"Life of St. Dyinpna r observes: "We find nothing about the cutting 
of hair, which was not practised in the profession of holy virgins 
ns; early, or at least as generally, as the regulation of their wearing 
a particular habit." One of the most interesting of the historical 
notices in the "Chrcnicon Scotorum" refers to this custom: "A.D. 
SS3, change cf cutting of hair by the Virgins of Erin." The very 
long faces and broad low foreheads of these figures remind one 
forcibly of the type of female face which we find in the k * Book of 



the old 

FIGi <3._7j ?J r S ON THE SHSI 

veils." Fig. 43 is probably intended for St. John the Beloved 
Apostle, or "John of the BGS. 
Irish poem, " On the personal 
appearance of Christ and His 
Apostles." The attitude cor- 
responds with the direct"',, ns 
given in the Byzantine 
*' Painters' Guide/' where it 
; s directed that < St. John 
Theologos stands in sorrow, 
his cheek resting upon hi? 

At the close of these notices 
of Irish metal-work, the dates 
of which may be inferred from 
their inscription, we should 
place the Cross of Cong. This beautiful processional cross was 
originally made for the church of Tizam, seat of the Archbishopric 
of Connaught. and for Muiredach O'Duffy. who died in the year 
1150. It was made to enshrine a portion of the true Cross by 
order of King Turlougb O'Conor as we learn from an entry in the 
"Annals of Inisfailen," A.D. 1123, the year in which the first General 
Council of Lateran was held, during the pontificate of Pope 
Calixtus. The Annalist states : " A portion of the true Cross 
came into Ireland, and vras enshrined at Roscommon, by 
Turlough O'Conor." This statement is supported by in- 
scriptions along the sides of the cross which may be thus 
translated : 

In this cross is preserved the cross on which the founder of 
the world suffered. 

Pray for Muredach U Dubthaig, the Senior of Erin. 

Pray for Terdelbach O'Chonchobair, for the King of Erin, 
fur whom this shrine was made. 

Pray for Domnali MacFLannacan U Dubthaig, Bishop of 

rxv APT / 

,- 1 ''ic^SsjU^ 






. J. r < s^ - I 



l. V&rfsS.- *, 


METAL - WORK, i c,; 

?-av for Maeijesu MacBratdan O'Echan, WHO maie this 

The Siiatt of tnis cross measures 2 ft. 6 in. huh : br-adth o: 
span of arms, i fr. 63_Tin.: thickness of shaft and Arms, i^'in. 

It .s formed of oak, covered with plates of copper outside, which 
;re placed five en the front and three on the back, with a pcrticn 
>; 2 fourth pi^te cf brass, a'l adcrned with a richly interwoven 
*'" i cerv O 7 ! *'" ^ Q-^'^ 4 -'-"'* *"l c *e on ^he fac^. at the ^unctiDn cf the 
ETUIS, is a bcss suri-icunteci by a convex crystal. Thirteen jewels 
remain of the c:~htee.i 7.v.:rh -vere disposed at regular intervals 
along the ed c -es and on the *acr cf the shaft and arms, ani spaces 
a- e visible for nine ether;, ''hich were placed at Intervals dovrn 
the centre. T.\ D beads remain of four settings which surrounded 
t/.e central boss. shaft terminates below in the -rotes r^e 
head cf an animal, beneath which it is attached to a spherical 
e'aborately ornamented ball, surmounting the socket in which 
v;;s inserted the pole or shaft for carrying the cross. 

This relic was carried from Tuarn to Cong, either by the 
Archbishop O'Dufy, \vho died in the Augustinian Abbey there in 
1150, or by King Rcderic C'Conor ? the last monarch of Ireland, 
who himself founded and endowed the Abbey of Gong. It was 
concealed at the time of the Reformation and found early in the 
present century by the parish priest, the Rev. Mr. Prendergast. 
in an oaken chest in a cottage in the village. It was purchased 
:rom the successor to Mr. Prendergast by Professor MacCulIagh, 
v.ho presented it to t.:e Museum of the Royal Irish Academy 
in :S 39 . 





Space does not pern:!: us to 
illustrate the numerous miscel- 
laneous articles in the Irish 
museums which give evidence of 
early civilisation, and show the 
taste with which the simplest 
domestic utensils of the Irish 
were adorned. Such instances 
may be seen in the situlse or 
wooden vessels bound with richly- 
chased bronze hoops, such as 
were found at Clonfree in Ros- 
common, at Clonard, or knife- 
handles, two of which we en- 
F,G. 4$. grave, the second being one of the few examples 
known of coloured enamel on iron (Figs. 48. Z2*<. book-bindings 
such as (Fig. 50) found at Gonmacnois, and ( Fig. 51) in the British 
Museum, and book-clasps, the designs of which might be copied 
with advantage in the present day. (Figs. 45, 47.) 

I now proceed to describe some examples of Irish 
metal-work of the Christian period, in the British 

Crcsier JVL\ i. Oaken stem encased In silver 
and brass, with bands inlaid with silver, circa 
950 to 1050. 

Upper portion cased in silver, with an 
open work formed of interlaced birds, 
terminating at the upper end in a 
male head, and at the lower in 
that of an animal. Below 
this there is a knop 
decorated with 
trumpet pattern 

designs and 
FIG. 50. 


interlacing, inlaid -vith silver 

:,nd niello. The lower part of 
the crcsier consists of an 
e-iken stem encased in brass, and 
c- viced into three sections by polygonal 
k:nps cf interlaced work. The junctio: 
.. the brass plates, which are lapped ove 
uiken staff within, were conc.-iled by a 
crass rs in relief, three of which remain 
xrr.vjd a alon the back of the crosie: 


of br 

.TVcr en appears to be a soli 

l.:::ds cf :r.l:.:c silver. It terminates with three little feet. Fia - s< 
A.; Ir:<h inscription TLIHS under the crest: 

Or ;^;t; u*j coKd;:3~ c::*z do 3ft\j~mzin 9 

v;hich :::^y be translated, t Pray for Cudulig and for" 
/.n ecclesiastic of Kells, who died in the year 967, bore the name 
Lelrlnne::, and an;ther ecclesiastic, belonging to the same 
ii ^nast.ry, Cuiulig, died in the year 1047. It is supposed that 
this crosi-:r belonged to the church of Kells, and may have been 
the work ci ;he hereditary mechanics of the monastery, represented 
ly Sitric 2vl.ic Aeda In the eleventh century. 

Cosier .AV. 2. Fragment of head, bronze, wiih interlacings, 

Caster J\A 3. Fragment of bronze, with interlaced ornament. 

OiVjV/- J\1-. 4. Portion of crest, bronze. 

Crcsitr /;!. 5. Knop of bronze inlaid with silver. 

Crjss. Top of processional cross, bronze, inlaid with bands, 
cecoration in compartments filled with interlaced bands, and 
lozenge in borders. 

Breeches. These ornaments twenty-two In number are of 



bronze, with three exceptions, which are of silver. One remarkable 
bronze specimen was found in the County Rosccmrnon. The 
diameter of the rings is 4*^ in., length of the acns, 7^ in. 

Pins. A large number of these examples were found In 
the Counties Westmeath and Gal way. Also bronze harp- 
shaped pins, one of which was found in the Shannon, near 
Athlone, County Westmeath. One of the bronze pins was 
found in 1849 in opening a tumulus in the parish of Skryne, 
near Tara, County Meath. About 7 ft. below the surface a 
large deposit of ashes was discovered, and under this was a 
layer of flints with calcined bones; near them the fibula was 
found. The deep cavities of the flower-like ornaments are 
chased with interlaced patterns, now indistinctly seen; these 
were probably filled up with coloured paste, or inlaid metal 
This would seem to belong to the Christian period, though, by 
some accident, found near a pagan interment Arch. Journal, 
ix. and xviii., p. 164. 

Figure from Shrine. This figure was found buried near 
St. John's Abbey, in Thomas Street, Dublin. It bears some 
resemblance to those of the ecclesiastics on the face of the 
shrine of St. Manchan; but it is of much finer workmanship 
and evidently earlier date. The trumpet pattern, spiral and 
rectilinear patterns are beautifully executed in the borders of 
the robe with gilding in parts. The figure holds a book. (See 
Arch. Journal^ ix. and xviii., p. 164.) 

Bronze Buckle. This buckle was dug up in a rath near Navan. 

Book-binding. This portion of book-binding was found in 
the Phoenix Park, Dublin. (See Fig. 51.) 

Bells. Of St. Cummin of Kilcommon, King's Co., Ireland. 
Of St. Molua of Clonfert Molua now KyleQueen's Co. Of 
Ruadan of Lorrha, Co. Tipperary (Bronze). Of Caimin of 
Kilcamin, King's Co. (a fragment). 

Bronze Bd!. This bell was found in a bog in the county 
of Leitrim, at Ross Inver the handle and clapper are missing. 
PART i. r 


It measures 9 : / in. In height there are punctured dots on 
each side of one aryle of the rim, and there is a gap on one 
side over which a plate has once been fastened with rivets. 

The Maver Museum, in Liverpool possesses a decorated 
cross of Irish workmanship. 

There are still some remarkable antiquities In various parts 
of Ireland which we should be glad to see under safe protection 
in our museums, such ns the Shrint of St. Manchan supposed 
to contain the rencs of St. Mnnchan, Abbot of Leth, in King's 
Co., Ireland., who died A.D. 664, and whose bones were enshrined 

A.D. I I<"'6. 

The shrine is formed of wood, and in form resembles the 
roof of a house or chapel, oblong in plan ; the sides meet In a 
ri-i-e, and the ends are gables. It measures 24 in. long by 
15 in. broad, and 19 in. high. On each side Is a cross 
17 in. by ID in., composed of five bosses or hemispheres 
elaborately ornamented, and united by arms, each of which 
contains four i.lates of enamel , the ground of the enamels is 
yellow, and a pattern Is formed on each side by lines of red. 
The patterns are chiefly composed of straight lines, and several 
of them bear much resemblance to Chinese or ancient Mexican 
decoration. In texture aid colour these enamels closely resemble 
those which ornament the fine bronze armlets in the British 
Museum, found at Castle Drunimond in Perthshire. Above and 
below the crosses were figures of men, about 6 in. in length. 
Originally :t would seem there were nearly f.fty of those figures, 
but now only ten remain. These present many remarkable 
peculiarities in cress, arrangement of the hair, ere. One carries 
a small axe, two a short hooked stick, and one a book. Below 
these figures, and in the corresponding position at the ends of 
the shrine, are rows of enamels of the same character as those 
that derogate the crosses, and strips of bronze elaborately pierced 
and engraved are ;!a.:ed at each an^le ; the ends are covered by 
tnanji:!ar plates, ornamented in the same style. 


The ornamentation of these plates and strips, as well as of 
the hemispheres of the crosses, is formed by Interlaced figures of 
animals, sometimes quadruped, sometimes biped, but never 
winged. The metal-work throughout was richly gilt. The whole 
rests upon four bronze feet, and rings are fixed :it the corners 
through which poles might be passed for the purple of Carrying 
the shrine in procession. 

When the shrine was opened, it was found to contain some 
bones, some pieces of yew (apparently parts of the earlier 
wooden frame of the shrine), and some thin pieces of silver. 
which it was evident from their outline were fragments of the 
original plating of the sides of the shrine, preserved Ly the cgures 
which had been placed over them. (Arch J:uu:j\ vol. x. p. 157.; 

The Ban^or Bell is in the possession of Colonel McCance 5 
Knocknagony House, Holywood, Co. Down. 

The Bell of Solar (Co. Antrim) is now in the Museum of 
Belfast along with a second bell formed of iron and ccated with 
brass, very rude. 

Sf. Patrick's BelL Five chromo lithographic drawings, with 
historical and illustrative description by the Rev. W. Reeves. 
Belfast, 1850. Fol. 

An Irish crosier head is also preserved in the Belfast Museum. 
^See '"'Proc. R, Irish Acad.," vol. i. ser. ii. p. 261.) 

Jfr. JBenxs collection is also in the Bel fas: Museum. This 
includes the small bronze altar vessel belonging to the church 
founded by St. Patrick at Island Magee, Co. Antrim. This 
vessel is inscribed : kk Or do Mac Etain au Brolcham" (Pray for 
MacEtan, descendant of Brolchan). See " Christian Inscriptions 
in the Irish Language/' G. Petrie. Vol. ii. p. 119. 

Enamds. At a meeting of the Archaeological Institute, June 
6th, 1 36 2, Lord Talbot exhibited two specimens of enamelled 
work found in Ireland ; one is a curious relic cf unknown use 
of mixed metal, the incrustations upon which appear to be in 
part of the nature of enamel, and partly tine mosaics of blue 


and white vitreous pastes, affixed by fusion in cavities chased out 
of the surface of the metal. It was found in the remarkable 
depository at Lagore, Co. Meath. (See Arch. Journal, vol. vi. 
P- 1^5.) 

A remarkable specimen of early Irish enamel, preserved in 
the Museum of St. Columba's College, near Dublin, is figured 
in Mr. Franks' Treatise, "Art Examples from the Manchester 
Exhibition, Glass and Enamels," p. 6. Mr. Franks in his remarks 
on " Enamelling among the Ancients," observes: "The ancient 
processes appear to have lingered in Ireland, as we find some of 
the details of the earlier shrines executed in enamel. A fragment 
of one of them belongs to the College of St. Columba. In 
other parts of the West all traces of their existence were swept 
away by the Teutonic invasions. The jewellery of the conquerors 
does not appear to have been enriched with enamel." 

The rnetal-work of Ancient Ireland has been illustrated in the 
following works : 

Kemble, " Hone Ferales," ed. by A. W. Franks. 

Wilde, "' Descriptive Catalogue of the Antiquities in Museum 
of Royal Irish Academy." 

Albert Way, Arch. Jour,^ XXVL 52 ; Arch. Camb., 4th 
series, i. 199. 

Edwin, third Earl of Dunraven, " On Ancient Chalice and 
Brooches' 7 (Trans. R. I. Academy^ vol. xxiv. 

Ellacombe, ' ; Church Bells of Devon,'' contains section on 
ecclesiastical bells of Ireland with numerous illustrations. 

" Vetusta Monuments," vol. vi., en Arm of St. Lachtin. 

" Archseologia," vol. xliii., description of the shrines of St. 
Mcedog and St. Malaise. 

Bronze sheaths from Crarmog at Lisnacroghera, Co. Antrim, 
described and illustrated by W. F. Wakeman, Journal of the 
R.H.A.A., vol. vi. p. 377. 1883. 

O'Neill (H. \ <w The Fine Arts and Civilisation of Anciert 
Ireland." 1863, 


Abbondio, St., church of . - 33 
Aberdeen Martyrology . . 96 
Abyssinia, books of . . . 51 
Adamnan's Life of Cohiraba S, 25 
tract, De Lccis 

Sanctis . . 40 
Ae^buite, artisan . . -57 

Ahascra 101 

Ahcghill 74 

Aileran, St. , Commentary of, note 49 
Ailill . . . 30, 6S 

Altmann, St 6S 

Altmuhl 40 

Ambl^teuse . . . .72 

Anastasia, St 69 

Anderson, Dr., quoted . I, 6l, 66 
Anglo-Saxon art . . 28, 46 
Anmchadh, St. ... 49 
Annalists, Bavarian, quoted . 42 
ignore Irish missionaries 

abroad . . .30 

on Book of Kells . 1 1 

,, on Irish, scribes . 10, 20 

Annals of Four Masters . . 89 

Archowfogia . . . .116 

Ardagh, chalice of 69, 75, 79, So, Si 

Armagh, Book of . 10, 21, 75, 9 

j Armlets, bronze . . .114 

Arnoul, St., at Metz . . 43 

Art, primitive . . . -71 

Athlone 113 

Aubert, St. , in Cam bray . , 50 

Banncckbum . 

BasHicc, of Moazs. 


Bavarid . . 

Bean:an Ailhe . 



Belief Banger . 

Berach . 

Cashel . 

Colismb of Ros Glandae 
Conell Cael .. 
Conell of Inlscail . 


- 4 
. 64 
. 64 
. 64 


64, 115 
. 99 
. 64 

Bamberg . 


4 I 

,, Curnascach, son of Ailill 65 

Dnimragh . . 61 

Fenagh . . . .61 

Gall, St. . . 39, 61 

Gartan . . . .64 

,, Godebene, in Xoyon . 61 

Mcgne, St. . 61, 64, 66 
Mura, St . .64, 65 
Patrick . . 57, 58, 71 

Patrick's \VT1 . . 65 
Rcss Inver . . . 113 
Senan, St. . . 62 

,, Solar . . . .U5 
Stival, in Briitany , .61 
, 3 Termon MacGuirk . . 61 
Bell-shrine of Guthrie, in Forfar- 

shire . . 66 
Maelbrigde . 65, 74 




Bells 57 

in Scotland . 61 

Benen, St 51 

Benn, Mr., collection . .115 

Bernard of Ciairvaux . 30, 101 

Life cf Malachy, by . 102 

Beme 39 

Bethselinus .... 42 

Black Bel! of St. Patrick . . 61 

BobiOj in Xcrtb Italy . . 30 

Missal . SS 

Boniface, St., crcsier of . .49 

,, relics of -49 

shrine of . 49 

Book of Amagb . . . 51 

Eallymcte ... 75 

Hymns, initials from 

20, 33, SS, 91 

Book cf Kells . . . .96 

date of . n, 12 

illuminated mon^grain 1 3 

B^ok-chding . . , no, 113 

clasp . . , .113 

satchel of Fiacc . .51 

, , shrine of St. Gall . . 39 

shrines . . . SS, 91 

Bowl of St. Fintan . . 39 

Breastplates . . . .90 

Brilgid, Lifecf. . . 40, 5 S 

Britain, Roman occupation of . 73 

British helmet .... 55 

Musenrn . 29,62,102,111, 


Bronze buckle , . . .113 
ornaments, fragments 

=f . - . -53 

Bronzes, late Celtic . . 71, 73 

,, pre-Christian art upon . 31 

Breaches 112 

Salsaria 35 

Byzantine artists in Italy and 

France ... 33 
relics . .91 

Caimin of Kilcamin 
Calixtus, Pope . 


, . . . . 

Cambray . . . . .50 
Cambridge, Irish MSS. in . 29 
Candidus, missionary to Raiisbon 41 

Canon of Patrick 

Canton of the Grisons . 

Carlovingian MSS. . . 

writing . 
Carthach, crosier of . . 
Cashel ... 43, 
Cataldus, St 
Cathach of the O'Donnells 

74 90j 

Celtic flate) style . . 
Cennfailad, abbacy of . 
Chalice of bronze . 

,, glass .. 

gold and silver . 

j, Kremsmiinster . 

,, metai . 

,, stone . . 

St. Jerome (note) 

Charlemagne . . . 
Chronicle of Marhnus Scorns 
Chromccn Ratisbonense . 

,, Scotcnini. . 
Chronological table . . 


, 40 
. 103 
69, 94 

95. I0 

. 69 
. 69 
. 69 

69, 72 
. 69 

49, 68 
. 75 
. 42 
. ico 
. 70 
. 3I 
. 32 
49, in 

Clermunt, in Auvergne 

Clonard (note) . . 


Clonmacnois . . . . 

Ccgiiosns .... 

Coins minted in Gaul and Biitain 

Coire ..... 

Cologne ..... 

Coloican ..... 30 

Columba ... 39, 4O> 51 
2. scribe . . 10, 20 
college of . , .n6 
Life of . . 39, 49 



6 1 




32, 35, 37, 39, 69 




Ccng, abbey of. 

Conla 58 

Constance, Lake . . 37 

Conor O'Brien, king cf Munster 43 
Connac MacCarthy . . .105 
Cronellys, hereditary custodians 

of St. Grellan's crosier . , 101 
Crosier, Irish, in Edinburgh 

Museum . . 99 
of Belfast . . .116 
Berach ... 99 
,, Clonmacnois . 104, 105 
Colinan MacDuach . 99 
,. Durrow . . -99 
Bympna . . 97,98 
,, Fertullagh . . 96 
Fiacc ... 51 
,, Kells 74, 101, 102, 112 
,, Lismore . . 74, 103 
Maelfmnia , . 74 
,, St. Fillan, borne in 

battle as a vexillum ico 
,, St. Grellan, borne in 

battle as a vexillum 100 

Cross of Cong . . 74, 103, 107 

ofTuam. ... 74 

processional . . .112 

Cudulig 112 

Cumbert 61 

Cummin, St., of KLilcommon . 113 

Cumdach . . .51, 89, 90, 91 

of Molaise's Gospels . 93 

of Stowe Missal . . 94 

Cuthbert, St n 

Dageus, artisan . . .58, 99 
Dagobert, throne ot . . . 57 
Damascening . .71 

Darnasus, St 48 

Danube . . . , .40 
Deposition from the cross . . 37 

Desiderius, king cf the Lombards 6S 
Devenish, z^ok from . . 74 
Dewar, name cf family cf hereditary 
keepers of S:. Fillac's crcsier . 97 

Dicuil 39 

Didron, quoted . . . 3$, 61 

Dimna Mace. Xathi, scribe , 23 

Dimma, Book of . .23 

5 . shrine of. , 74 

Dicaysius 43 

DisertO'Dea, founder cf church -.f 99 
Divergent spiral . . 73 

Domnus 42 

Done!! MacAulay . . 66 

Dorbene, a scribe . . 10 

Douth 31 

Drcgheda. . . . .70 
Drurnlane, church cf . . . 106 
Drummond Casile, Perthshire . 1 14 

Dubtkach 50 

Danchad O ! Tagcdn ... 94 

Dungal 37 

Dunraven, Edwin, third Earl of 64, 
S3, 116 

Durham ..... 29 

Durrow, Book of . .17 

,, autograph of scribe . 18 

comdach of. 18, 52, 75, 89 

Dympna, St., church of, in 

Belgium . 50 
,, crcsier of . 97 

.. Life of . .106 

Earth-houses .... 3 
Egbert, Bishop, in Ireland . 28 

Eichstadt 40 

Ellaccmbe, Mr., quoted . 61, 116 
Emerau, St, in Radsbcn . . 41 
Emina, abbess . . . .41 

Enamel 82 

champleve . . . 83 
,, cloisonne . * 82, 83 
,, Oriental . . . 83 



Enamelling, various processes . 71 
Emmets no" 

Erhar Life cf . 41 

Euphroahs .... 57 
Eutychzis ..... 49 

Fd-jui ..... 66 

Ferdomnach, scribe . . 20, 102 
Fiacc, bUhcp of Sletty . .51 

Finchm, St ..... 30 

Filigree . . . . 71, 82 
Filiss, St. ... $6, 102 
Fint^n, St., towl cf, ^: SchafF- 
kr-sen ..... 39 

. 69, S 9 

Foreign testimony to early Irish 

writers ..... 31 
Fcrtchem, nrtis^n of Patrick . 57 
Fcrts, prehistoric ... 3 
FcrhaJ, bishop ... 96 
Francos;:: ..... 40 
Franks, A. \V., quoted . 72, 116 
Fridolin, St. ... 30, 40 
Fdda . . . . 37,49 

Gc!I, St ..... 30, 35, 69 
Garland cfHowth ... 25 
Gad . . . . 32, 56 
Georgia, churches of . . -33 
Gheel ..... 50 
Gilbert, T. L., referred to . .52 
Giilabaithin . . . .9! 
Glass beads, two varieties of . 104 
Glass-work . . . .7! 
Glezcclunibkill . . . .66 
Gold necklaces, found in Melos . 71 
Golden bell . . . .62 
Gclden Gospels of St. Ger- 

nmnus . . . . *ir 
Gospels cfMacRfigol . . 75 


Gospels of Willibrorc] . . 75 

Gottweich 6$ 

Grace, Mr. John . . -94 
Greeks, knowledge of enamel 

among 71 

Gregorius of Ratisbon . . 43 
Gregory of Tours . . -32 
Gregory's square tower 

Handwriting . 
Henri Deux ware 
Henry IV. , Emperor 

,, II., shrine of . 
Hereditary custodians 
,, mechanics 
Hezecha, abbess 
High crosses 
Hilary of Aries . 

Hor<e Ferales, Kemble 
Horns on British helmet 
Hovsth, Garland of . 
H'-irnboldt, quoted 
Humphreys, H. Xoel 
Hy Many, Customs of, quoted . 100 
Hymns, Book of, Trinity 

College, Dublin . . - 75 

. 43 


. 104 
. 42 
. 91 
59, 61, 96 

. 112 

. 42 
. 40 

- 49 
. 116 

* 55 
. 25 
. iS 


Iceland . 

colours used 

Innisfallen, Annals of 





10, 27 

Ireland, Christian Art in, gives 
a key to the history 
of early Christian an- 
tiquities elsewhere . I 
, preservation of primi- 
tive types in Art of . 3, 4 
the ancient Scotia i, 2$ 
Irish radiated crown . . 55 

scribes on the Continent . 30 


Irish style, engrafted on Car- 

Lismore. crcs:i_r ,f . 


lovingian . . . 31. 

\ 33 



Lior.b-rfy .... 


Joannes, missionary to Gottweich 


Longh^I'.:, Mi. . . -79, 


John, missionary to Ratisbon 



John, St., of the Bosom . 

T 1 

Lonha .... 94, 


, , styled Beloved Ap 35tle 




,, Theologus. 






Keating, quoted 


L>-nch, Dr 


Keller, Ferdinand, quoted 

10, 33, 3 s 

-5^ ; 

Mabillon ..... 



^J^IL _ ,., 



- 1 .^Julllua ..... 


crosier of ... 

74 J 



Keils, Book of . 7, 10, n, 52 


MacCulI-igh, Professor 


,, Initials from 

MacGecjhegans, hereditary cus- 

6, 9, 12, 16, 17, 33, 35, 5o ; 

j 53 

tc'dians of crosier ;*f Darrow . 


Kemble, Mr., quoted 


MitcRaith O'Doncghce 


Kilian, St. . . -3 

, 40 , 

Maelbrigde, bell shnne 


Killin, Loch Tay 


MaelSnnia, crosier . 


Kilmichael, Glassary 


]NIjelseclinaiI, descendant of Cel- 

Kingoldrum, in Forfarshire 

69 ! 



Knife-handles .... 

in ; 

Magee, island .... 

1 16 


Magnus, St., in Ratisbon . 


Lachtin, St. .... 

icj. ! 

Malachy, St. 


,, shrine of arm . 



Hng .... 


Laebhan, artisan of Patrick 

57 J 

Malfinnen .... 




Malines, in Belgium . 


Lambeth Palace 

29 j 

Maachan, St., shrine of 74, 113, 


Lateran Council 

107 ' 



Laurentius .... 

47 '' 

Margaret, cross of St., borne in 

Leabhar Breac .... 




Leabhar na Huidre . 


Marianus S coins, of Mentz 


Leatha, i.e. t Italy 

5S " 

., Ratisbon 41 


Lecan, Book of ... 


ilartigny, Abbe, quoted . 


Leinster, Book of ... 


Maximian's ivon* chair 


Leth, shrine of abb ^t 


Mayence ..... 




Mayer Museum . 




Meath, county .... 




Melcs, island .... 


Lindisfarne . 




Lineal designs .... 




Lismore ..... 


Merovingian writing . 




Meta:- \vork 


Milan. Irish MSS. in 

M:ss:.l s Irish, Oxford 


6. 53, 7i 



Misr-Lcaries from Ireland S, 31, 35, 37 

,. their aspect 34 

., ,, in Germany 49 

Mcedoc, St 106 

Mceleaich, scribe . . . 22 

McerpI 37 

Mclaise, :f Devenish. . 91, 106 

b-o!;of ... 74 

, 5 clasp of Gospels of . 91 

Moling St., Book of . .24 

Molur, St., cf deafer! Molua . 113 

Lismore . . 67 

Monaghnn . . . -5 

MocastereveTi . . . -5^ 

Moac^Kim XlT, in "Book of 

Keils" . . , . .15 

Mcnzs 57 

Mosaic 7 1 

Mottirigea .... 44 
MuireJach O'Duffy . . .107 

Munich 41 

Royal Lilrary . .91 
Murtagh at Otermunster , -41 
Murtrgh O'Bri-jii ... 43 
Msratoii . . . ... 37 

rfcic, knowledge of . . .35 

Xamitins 32 

Naples, Irish MSS. in . . 36 
Nstr?n lakes . . . .51 

Xavan 113 

Nt-'Cian, artisan. . . . 103 
Xt_-\v Grange . . . -31 
Nial!, bishop of Lismore . . 103 
Xicephorus, latriarch of Con- 

staatin^li . . . .90 
Xi^lc-wsrk . . . . 7$ 
Ncrthir.en in Ireland. . . 58 
Nuremberg .... 43 

Obermiinster . . . .41 

O'Conor, Dr 94 

O'Conor 52 

Oettingen-Wallerstein . . 43 
Ogham inscriptions . . 2, 3, 22 
O'Hanlon, Mr., quoted . .106 
O'Hanlys, hereditary custodians 

of crosier of Termonbarry . 99 
O'Heynys, custodians of crosier 

of Kilmacduach . . 99 

Oiron faience . . . .104 
O'Luan, hereditary keepers of St. 

Dympna's crosier . . - 97 
O'Quinns, hereditary keepers of 

crosier of St. Tola . . 99 
Origins of Irish Art . . 31,33 
Orkney Islands ... 2 
Osred, king of Northumbria . 28 
Oxford, Irish illumination in 

Corpus Christi College . . 29 

Pagan arts of Ireland . .53 
Paris, Latin Gospels in -34 

Patens 57 

Patrick, St. . . 51, 50, 57, 68 

bell of . . .115 

J5 shrine of . . -74 

Pauline Epistles . . .40 

Pavia 37 

Pepia 49 

the Little ... 68 
Perpetuus, bishop of Tours . 57 
Peter's, St, Ratisbon . . 41 
Petrie, George, referred to 58, 76, 99 
Museum . . 53, 79 
Philostratus . . . .72 
Pin, head of . . . 79, 113 
Poland . . . , -35 
Prendergast, Rev. Mr. . .109 
Primitive Christian metal-work, 

rude character , . .71 
Psalter, Irish, British Museum . 75 



Psalter za Ranr. . 75 Shetl^r.-i Islands ... 2 

Pjrton Cooper . . . . 52 Shrine :f ba'I of Cor.a"! Gael . t.i 

Ratisbnn . . . 40.43,94 . ?t. Cul^r/is' Le" . C2 

Raveniu .... 32. 33 ,, St. Lad-iiLi s a~, . 104 

Rebdorf, in Franc -nia . 40 St. M^ei^c . . ico 

Reeves, Dr., r^ted 30,40,52,59 Stcue Mial . . 74 

Reichenau .... 39 ,, St. Patrick's brT. . cc 

Reliquary at G lire ... 40 St. Secar/s beX . . 64 

ofFiacc . . .51 Sitric Mac Ae la, artisan . ,112 

Rheims 34 Situ!;? m 

Ricetnarch, Psalter of . 26,75 Sourians, AV'ssir.'.an a:on2St.-r- 51 

Ro'lcric O'Flaherty . . . Sg St. Andic'.v's . . . . 96 

Roman occupation of Briiairi . 73 St Err.erau, aLbey of . . 9: 

Romanesque churches . . 72 St. Gall 37 

Rome . . . 37, 41 S . Michtrlsberg . . .41 

Roscommon, portion of the true S . SaLina . . . . 92 

cross .... 107, HI S affo-f Je^us . . . .102 

Rcscrea, brooch . .So Stockholm . . . -75 

Round towers in Scot! snd . . 2 , Stone-cutting .... 6 

Ruacan 113 StDwe Missal .... 21 

Ruskin, quoted .... 14 book shrine 74, 92, 101 

Strasbcrg 49 

Samson, abbot of St. Edmund's . 34 Strathfillan, Perthshire . . 96 

Sat chel called "polaire" . . 50 Sullivan, Professor, quoted > 82 

,, Irish, Corpus Christi, Switzerland, Irish missionaries 

Cambridge ... 50 in 30, 37 

,, of St. Moedoc's Reliquary 50 Symbols 91 

,, of the Book of Armagh . 50 , Syrian churches . . .33 

Scattery Island . . 62, 66 ' 

Schafihausen . . 25, 3$, 39 , Tamil, artisan of Patrick . . 57 

Scotland, Burghs in ... 2 Talbot, Lord . . . . 116 

,, Christian monuments in i Talman, St 25 

hereditary keepers in . 96 Tara brooch . . .69, 75 

,, Ogham inscripti :r.i> ia . 2 Tassach, artisan of Patrick 57,102 

Scribe, technical skill . 7, 10 Tassilo, duke of Bavaria . . 6S 

Sculptured stones . . . 2 , Te Dav^ct, Co. Monaghan . 97 

Se.iulius 49 Tegernsee 40 

Sepulchral inscriptions in Ireland, Tcmpleport . . . .66 

rrjmbtjr of 2 Ternan, St. . . -9^ 

rare in Sc^t- Theodolindc, .-jae-jn of tht 

Jar.J . 2 Lombards . . . .91 

Shaw, H. .... 52 , Thomas. St., Gospels of . .49 







Vetusta Monumenta, referred 


Tirconnel, chieftains of 

S 9 104, 116 

Tirechan, quoted 




Tcid, Dr., quoted . 26, 27 

, 32, 94 

Tola, S: 



Tonsure, Irish and Roman 

. iS 

Ware, quoted 

. II 



Warren, Mr., 



Trichinopoli work 





Trier .... 


Way, Albert 



Trumpet pattern 


Weigh Sanct 

Peter . 

- 42 


7-1 I0 7 

Westwood, re 

ferred tn 


Tuban .... 


White, Stephen 

. 42 

Tactile, monk of St. Gall . 


Wilde, Sir William . 

. 116 

Turl^ugh O'Conor, king . 

. 107 

Wilmousky, canon . 

. 49 

Turin, Irith MSS. in 

. 36 



. 40 

Witten, abbey 


. SS 

Ultan, a scribe . 

. 28 

Writing apparatus 

.S, 9 

his Life of St. Bridget 
Utrecht .... 

- 41 
- 50 

Wiirzburg . . 30, 
Wyatt, M. Digby, referred to 



- 37 

Vatican Library. Rome 

37. 75 


. 30 



liart HE. 





Published for the Committee of Council on Education, 






SCULPTURE i , , ; . I 






FIG, ? A ^ E 

53 Two Alphabets 3 

54 Interlaced Pattern 5 

55 Irish Cross 5 

56 Tmrnpe: Pattern 5 

57, 58 Inscriptions on Clonmacnois Cross ...... S 

59 Initial C. "Bock of Hymns," fc I. 6 ..... li 

60 The Temptation and Xcah in the Ark. Vel>ri . . .12 

6 1 Noah and the Ark, on Cross cf Kells 12 

62 High Cress of Durrow ........ 19 

63 High Cross of Muredach, Mcnasterholce 20 

64 Base of the High Cross, Tiuun 21 

65 Head of Tiiam Cross ........ 22 

66 Initial T. " Book of Kells " 2$ 

67 Doorway of Dun Aengas 35 

68 Ground Plan of Monastery, Inismurray 39 

69 Oratory, Gallarcs 39 

70 Doorway cf Oratory, Senach's Island . . . . 40 

71 Doorway of Oratory, St. Finan 4 1 

72 Ground Plan, Monastery of Senach 4! 

73 Way of the Cross, Skellig Michael ...... 43 

74 Ground Plan of Monastery, Skellig Michael .... 45 

75 Monastic Cell, Skellig Michael 45 

76 Doorway of Kilcrony Church 46 

77 Window in St. Caimin's Church 47 

78 Doorway of Temple Martin, Kerry 47 

79 Doorway of Maghera Church, Londonderry .... 49 



80 Bell-house of Kells 50 

Si Bell-house of Desert Aengus 52 

$2 Bell-house of Ardmore , . . . . . . 53 

83 Belfry of San Giovanni, Ravenna . 55 

84 Belfry of St. Maurice, Epinal 55 

85 Belfry of St. Genevieve . . 57 

86 Clmrch and Bell-house, Iniscaltra ..... 64 

87 Doorway of Kilmalkedar (Interior) , .... 65 

88 Doorway of White Island Church . . ... 66 

89 Doorway of St. Farannan's Church .... 67 

90 Moulding on Doorway, St. Farannan's Church . 68 

91 Capital, Rahen Church 68 

92, 93 Mouldings, Clonaltin , . 69 

94 Moulding, Clonmacnois ... ..... 70 

95, 96 Mouldings on Doorways, Killeshin . . . . . 71 

97 Arcade, Ardmore ..... ... 72 

98 Mouldings, Aghadoe . . - 73 

99 Cormac's Chapel, Chancel (Interior) 74 

IOQ Cormac's Chapel (Exterior) ....... 75 

101 Cormac's Chapel, Interior (Nave and Chancel) . . . . 76 

102 Doorway, Cormac's Chapel .... 77 

103 Doorway, Freshford ..*..... 79 

104 Moulding, Tuaim Greine ........ 80 

105 Roscrea (West End) *,,. 81 

** Of these Illustrations, the Frontispiece and Nos. 5 to 9, 18, 25 to 31, 
and 41 to 52, have been engraved for this work by Mr. J. D. Cooper. 
Nos. 19 to 21, 39, 60, 61, 68, 69, 72, 74, and 75, are taken, by the author s 

permission, from Anderson's "Scotland in Early Christian Times." The 

remainder are chiefly from blocks originally engraved for "Notes on Irish 
Architecture," and since presented to the Science and Art Museum, Dublin. 
A few are taken from " Early Christian Architecture in Ireland." 





THE sculptured and inscribed stones of Christian Ireland, as 
yet described, may be thus divided : 200 Ogham stones, 250 
tombstones, 7 pillar stones, 4 altar stones, i Mass stone, i quern 
stone, and 45 High Crosses. The fact that the sepulchral 
inscriptions of Ireland are mostly in the vernacular idioms of the 
country, and not, as in other countries, In the Latin languages, 
gives them a peculiar interest. It may arise from the fact that 
Ireland never formed part of the Roman empire, and the 
ignorance of Latin which consequently prevailed; but it also 
bears testimony to the dignity which the native tongue had 
already attained at a very early period ; and Mr. Rhys* has 
noted that the circumstance that genuine Ogham inscriptions 
exist both in Ireland and Wales which present grammatical forms 
agreeing with those of the Gaulish linguistic monuments, is 
enough to show that some of the Celts of these islands wrote 
their language before the fifth century, the time at which 
Christianity is supposed to have been introduced into Ireland. 

Starting from the fifth century and passing on to the sixth and 
seventh, we have a class of biliteral and bilingual inscribed stones 
in Ogham characters with their equivalent in Roman letters, such 
as the stone of Finten, of Juvene Dniides, of Colman, and of Curoi 

* See " Lecture on Welsh Philology," p. 272, by John Rhys. 


on Caber Conn. When we enter on the eighth century we find, 
especially at Clonmacnois. names are occasionally to be met with 
in the sepulchral inscriptions which can be identified with those 
of certain personages, the dates of whose deaths are recorded in 
the Annals of the country. These identifications are rendered 
more or less certain by bringing various forms of evidence to 
bear on each example : such as the occurrence of the name in 
the Annals, which corresponds to that on the stone ; the ap- 
pearance of the same name in one or more of the old Irish poems 
which record the interments in the royal cemetery of Clonmacnois 
and in the registry of Clonmacnois, then the study of the Art on 
the monuments, the philological and pal geographical peculiarities, 
all revealing a gradual growth and development which will be 
found to correspond to the periods assigned to the inscriptions 
when taken in sequence. 

For instance, the stone of Cellach at Clonmacnois is adorned 
with a plain Irish cross incised upon the surface, without 
ornament ; the letters are of a comparatively early character, and 
differ from those of the eleventh and twelfth century. The poem 
on interments at Clonmacnois, in a MS. preserved in the 
Burgundian Library at Brussels, states that Ragallach with his 
three sons, Cathal, Cellach^ and Donnell, are among the chieftains 
buried in the city of Ciaran (i.e. Clonmacnois) " the prayerful, the 
pious, the wise"; and in the Annals of the Four Masters as well 
as those of Cionmacnois, we find it recorded that, in the year 704, 
Ceallach, son of Ragallach, after having entered the priesthood, 
died. Another poem on this cemetery that of Conaing 
Mulconry in a MS. H.I. 77, in Trinity College, Dublin, states 
tae father of Cellach Ragallach lies " buried under the green 
sod" under the " stone and bed'' 7 of Guaire, king of Connaught 
this Ragallach himself being of the same royal family. The 
Cana Cellach we find in the poem of Enoch O'Gillan are 
* k sleeping under the stones of Chain," und the Registry of 
Cionmacnois has a similar entry as to the burial-place of the 


tribe of Cellach, kings of Hy Many. Thus seven branches of 
evidence converge on this one inscription and identify the name 
as that of a chieftain who died in the beginning of the eighth 
century. The same system may be applied to ten out of 179 in- 
scribed tombstones of Clonraacnois whose dates are thus iked 
by collateral evidence; we may place these ten stones in regular 
sequence, so that, arguing from the known to the unknown, they 
may serve as starting-points for the future classification of un- 
dated ones. In addition to these names for which we have the 
help of these old poems on the cemeteries, are twenty-four more, 
the identifications of which are supported by the Annals, and the 
character of the art the letters the formulae, etc. 

To begin with the letters, we observe that with the exception 
of the letters F, G, S, and X, the Irish character is but a localised 
Roman minuscule. Roman capitals are rarely found in Irish 
lapidary inscriptions. The changes which took place in the 
minuscule forms from about the seventh to the twelfth century, 
will be seen by comparing the two alphabets here given 



The first is drawn from the Abecedarium stone at Kilmalchedar, 
Co.Kerry, and is held to date from the period of the foundation 
of the church to which it belongs, in the seventh century, while 
the second is drawn from inscribed stones of the eleventh and 
twelfth century. 

Roman capitals are the exception in Ireland, while they are 
the nile in Wales, where the minuscule is the exception. It is 
about Penally and Merthyr Tydvii that we find lettering of the 
Irish type. In Gaul, also, the cursive, derived from the Roman 
minuscule letters, is very uncommon, though, in the Museum at 
Marseilles, a curious marble fragment, brought from Carthage, 
with a portion of the fc * Gloria in excelsis ? ' inscribed upon it, is a 
striking example of the use of the minuscule which at once recalls 
the lettering on the Irish stones.* In Gaul we find forty inscrip- 
tions showing the peculiar alphabetical forms in use before the 
\ear 700, which, though dying out in Gaul, and always the excep- 
tional forms there, as well as in Wales, yet, after that period, 
become the rule in Ireland. 

These observations lead us to suggest that the early stones 
on which we occasionally find the Roman lettering, were the 
work of a period before the Irish stone-cutters had time to form 
a style of their own. They seem rather the occasional and tenta- 
tive efforts of men who derived their knowledge of letters from 
various sources abroad. Ireland, owing to its isolated position 
on the outskirts of Europe, offered at certain periods in the civil 
history of Europe a temporary refuge for scholars and pilgrims of 
various nationalities, who fled from the disorders and lawlessness 
still prevailing on the Continent, and the mixed elements thus 
introduced into the country may account for much that is 
enigmatical in the history of Irish Art It is possible that traces 
of foreign design, imported by the Roman pilgrims whose coming 
to Ireland in fifty currachs is recorded in the Litany of Aengus, may 

* " Inscriptions Cluetiennes de la Ganle anterieures au VIII e Siecle, 
iconics et aunotces par Edmond le Blant. Paris, 1856." 


be found In the Interlaced ornaments on our crosses and tomb- 
stones which correspond with fragments from the basilica of Julia 
in the Roman Forum, or the remains of the church on the Via 
Appia Xova in the Campagna first founded by Deinetria, a 
member of the Anician family in the fourth century. In 
the fifth century, and during the pontificate of St. Leo, this 
church was replaced by a basilica dedicated to St. Stephen. 
Demetria was a contemporary of St. Augustine, and the frag- 
ments of sculptured stones lying about which are covered with 




interlaced patterns strongly resembling those on the stones in 
Clonmacnois, may have belonged to the time of the restora- 
tion. They also strongly resemble the sculptures in Sant' 
Abbondio in Como. 

Corresponding to the development in the forms of the 
alphabet from the seventh to the twelfth century, was that of the 
forms of the cross ; and at first a great variety of patterns seem to 
have existed, many of which resemble designs we have found on 
stones at Ravenna, Torcello. near Venice, and in the churches of 
Sant' Ambrogio and Sant' Eustorgio at Milan ; then, after the 
ninth and tenth century, the form now known as the Irish cross* 


the Greek cross with elongated shaft or pattern, the Latin cross 
with circle at intersection, prevailed over the others. 

This type having been fixed, and prevailing for the three 
centuries following, it is interesting to observe that the trumpet 
pattern or divergent spiral, which characterised the native bronzes 
of the pre-Christian Art of Ireland, reappears on the crosses 
of Irish type, while it is absent from those which are but rude copies 
of foreign work. The two distinct modifications of this spiral, 
to which we have already alluded, as well as instances of its 
transition, from its pagan to its Christian variety, are found upon 
these stones. The most perfect example of its transition are 
fjund on two pillar-stones in Kerry, one of which belongs to the 
list Christian period in Ireland and bears a bilingual inscription, 
the other from the same district, inscribed Dne. The final 
modifications of this design appear on the High Crosses, and 
on the sculptured stones after the ninth century, but are manifest 
in their fullest vigour in the illuminated MSS. of the Irish scribes. 

When we come to study the formulae of the Irish epitaphs, we 
are again struck by the variety that prevails among the oldest and 
rudest examples and the gradual settling down, as it were, on 
one stereotyped form, after the tenth century. This was " Oroit 
do," oroit representing Oratio, the Latin substantive. 

Before this period we find the following varieties of formula : 
The cross of . . "crux" . . . " The stone of . ..." 
or the simple name of the person interred or " Hie dormit ; : ' 
such a formula as " Lie Colum mec Mel " may be classed with 
the simple one which consists of the name of the person interred 
in the genitive case, "Dominus," "DXT" "AP," "Psplt." 

The parallel to the first formula in the Roman Catacombs, is 
" Locus Marcellus." The parallel to " Hie dormit," which occurs 
in the island of Inismurray, is found in Gaul in the fifth century, 
and in Rome about the year 359, along with " Hie jacet/' "Hie 
pausat" A parallel to"DJSS," is found in Yaenor parish in 
Wdes, "In nomine domine Sumilius," while in Rome and 


Gaul * In nomine del r; was a dedicatory form in the fifth 
century. Thus these formulae on the earliest stones of Ireland 
are evidently foreign importations of a style which never took 
root in the country, whereas the prayer Oroit do the dead who 
asked for the prayers of the living, which is rarely met with in 
the early Christian period abroad, is the formula universally used 
in Ireland after the ninth century. There is only one epitaph 
known among the catacomb inscriptions with the prayer, "Qra 
pro nobis," and once, in Gaul, we meet with "' Orapro me Rustico 
vestro," on the tomb of St. Rusticus, Bishop of Xarbonne, in 427, 
and " Ora pro eis/ J on the tomb of Hermer and Friule, found at 
Lieusaint, in the department of La Manche. The Irish formula 
therefore was a foreign importation which was gradually adopted 
as a formula for epitaphs after the ninth center}'. 

The form of the Irish Christian tombstone was in most cases 
a flat slab laid upon the ground, inscribed with the above prayer 
and a cross. It is true that, at a very early time, upright stones 
with crosses carved on them were arranged so as to form a fence 
or enclosure for a burial-ground, but this was at a primitive stage, 
when such an arrangement may be taken as a reminiscence of 
the pagan stone circle. The next form of stone monument to the 
Christian tomb slab, is the pillar-stone, and the High Cross. 
They were not sepulchral monuments, but dedicatory or com- 

The inscription on the pillar-stone of Kill-na-saggart states 
that Ternoc, son of Ciaran, bequeathed a place under the pro- 
tection of St. Peter, which was marked by this pillar-stone. The 
inscriptions on one of the High Crosses of Clonmacnois, and 
on that of Tuam, as well as one of the crosses at Kells dedicated 
to the memory of Patrick and Columba for instance, show that 
these monuments were commemorative : in others they were 
terminal crosses, marking the bounds of the sanctuary, and were 
stationed to north, south, east, and west This is very clearly 


indicated by the inscription on the Ruth well Cross, verses taken 
from the " Dream of the Holy Rood," in which the cross is made, 
as it were, to tell the purpose for which it was erected, that is, 
that men seeing it from afar, might behold it as a sign. 

The High Crosses still remaining in Ireland are forty-five in 
number, thirty-two of which are richly ornamented, and eight of 
which bear inscriptions, wherein the names of the following per- 
sonages have been identified : King Flann, son of Malachy, d. 904 ; 
Col man. Abbot of Clonmacnois, d. 904; Muireadach, Abbot of 
Monasterboice, d 924; King Turlough O'Conor, d. 1106; Aed 

Oissen, Abbot of Cong, 
hail, 1161; O'DurTy, 
d. 1150. 

There is no evidence 
whatever to prove that 
such sculpture as we find 
upon these High Crosses 
in Ireland was executed 
here before the tenth 
century. The ornament 
upon the sepulchral 
slabs we have been con- 
sidering which date from 
:he seventh to the tenth century is incised that upon the High 
Crosses is in relief such work as can only be executed by a 
metal chisel and fine-edged and pointed metal tools, and which 
shows a knowledge of the art of modelling the human figure, and 
acquaintance with the early Christian Art of the Byzantine and 
Roman schools, and their systems of iconography. 

The dates of these fine monuments in Ireland may be limited 
to a period ranging from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries. 
The evidence for the age of the Irish inscribed crosses being 
such as we have stated, they may be considered as giving a key 

FIGS. 57. fS. 


to that of monuments in Scotland and the North of England 
which exhibit sculpture of a similar character, and we are there- 
fore inclined to question the very early dates that have been 
assigned to such examples as the stone crosses at Alnmouth, 
I^ancaster, Collinghanij York, Hartlepoo^ Bewcastle, Ruth well, 
which have been attributed by Stephens to the years 600, 651, 
670, 680, some of which have Runic inscriptions. 

The Scandinavian occupation of Scunlanc from the years 895 
to 1064 sensibly affected the Art of that country, and also of the 
Isle of Man and the North of England, and as eleventh century 
monuments these crosses of Ruthwell and Bewcastie would fall 
naturally into their place in the development of the arts of 
sculpture and design during this period, while as seventh century 
monuments they are abnormal and exceptional. The reader has 
only to compare the beautiful art and good drawing of the scrolls 
and figures on the Ruth well cross with the rude outlines and 
letters on the coffin of St. Cuthbert a work which all authorities 
allow to be of the seventh century to realise how unlikely It is 
that they could be contemporaneous. 

And when we consider the history of Christian iconography, 
whether Byzantine or Latin, throughout Europe, we have an 
additional argument for believing that the treatment of the 
subjects carved in the panels of these crosses belongs to the 
eleventh rather than to the seventh century. In the scrolls of 
wreathed vine through whose branches birds and squirrels play, 
we are at once reminded of Lombard ic sculpture, while the 
figures recall those in the sculptured panels of the Irish High 
Crosses. The subjects which appear on the Ruthwell cross are 
The Annunciation ; The Salutation ; The Flight into Egypt ; 
John the Baptist wirh the Lamb ; The Crucifixion, with Sun and 
Moon at either side j Christ as the True Vine ; Christ as the 
Lord of Nature \ " Beasts and Dragons know in the Desert the 
Saviour of the World ; " and the legend, as given in the Byzantine 
"Painters' Guide," of the meeting of Anthony and Paul the 


Theban in the desert* The guide is showing how the miracles of 
St. Anthony should be treated in Art, and says : 

" The saint is led by a lion into the grotto of St. Paul." The 
desert ; the saint walks behind a lion ; at a distance before them 
the grotto of St. Paul appears across the trees and mountains. 

"St. Anihony having found St. Paul embraces him." A 
grotto ; Paul the Theban wearing a mat which covers him from 
tne shoulders to the knee ; he and St. Anthony embrace ; a raven 
perched on the top of a tree holds bread in his beak. 

"The entombment of St. Paul by St. Anthony. 57 St. Paul 
stretched dead upon the ground ; St. Anthony covering him with 
a winding-sheet ; close by two lions tear up the earth with their 

The sculptor of the Ruthwell cross has clearly followed the 
Uvzantine guide in his work ; we see the raven perched on the 
tree in one panel, giving Paul the bread in another, and in 
a third, the meeting and embrace of the two saints in the 

This Byzantine "Guide 13 was compiled in Greece, at Mount 
Athos, from the works of Panselinos, a painter of the eleventh 
century, and became the text-book of Byzantine Art % 

The scenes on the panels of all our crosses, whether Irish,. 
Scotch, or English, belong to a hieratic cycle of subjects into 
which the Christian scheme was condensed, but it is not likely 
that such symbols were subjects of the sculptor's art in the North 
of England, in the seventh century, or that their execution would 
be more perfect there than the carving of similar subjects in 
Ravenna or in Milan at the same date. 

* A favourite subject in later mediaeval Art, treated by Spagnoletto (Turin), 
Pintuiicchio (the Vatican), Lucas van Leyden, Velasquez, Guido, etc. 

t See "Old Northern Runic Monuments of Scandinavia and England," 
byGecrge Stephens, F.S.A. Vol. i. p. 413. 

* See Appendix to Didron's " Christian Iconography," vol. ii., p. 262 
(Bohn's series). 


CHRISTIAN Iconography in Great Britain 
and Ireland has yet to be treated in a 
systematic manner, and Mr. Anderson, in his 
work on early Christian Art in Scotland, has 
pointed out the true method of investigating 
the subject. We have yet to trace the sources 
and origins of Christian symbols on the Con- 
tinent before we can read those carved 
on our own stones. In Ireland we 
seem to see two currents meeting, one 
Byzantine, the other Latin. The 
iconographical scheme of the Byzan- 
tine painters is laid down in the 
"Painters 7 Guide" already mentioned; 
that of Latin or of Western Art, in 
the "Biblia Pauperum," "Speculum 
Humanae Salvationist " Speculum 
FIG. 59. Sancte Maria Virginia," as well as such 
minor works as the middle age Bestiaries. In these 
works the events recorded in the Bible were treated 
not only as historic, but as prophetic of Christ when selected 
from the Old Testament, and as symbolic when taken from the 
New. The events recorded were turned to symbols. A system 
of such symbols was developed expressive of the salient points 
in religion. A hieratic cycle of subjects came into use, not 
necessarily for doctrinal purposes, but as expressive of religious 
faith. By adhering to the plan kid down in such works as 
those we speak of, the walls and cupolas as well as pavements of 
the churches, were intended to picture forth the Divine plan 
for man's salvation, to be the mirror of God's work in Creation. 
A very fragmentary impression indeed could be formed of 
these manuals (which give us the plot of the Christian drama, 
or the framework of the Christian Epos), if we were only to 
study the iconography of these islands, yet such study is of para- 
mount interest as bearing evidence to the gradual entrance 


of the inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland into the current 
of European thought and culture, and their ultimate assimilation 
with the larger, fuller life of Continental Europe. In the ancient 
literature of Ireland we come across fragments that seem to be 
translations from certain versions of the above-mentioned works, 
manuals, and poems. Thus in the "Book of Ballymote " a passage 
occurs, giving directions which the artist should follow in the 
representation of Christ and the Apostles, which corresponds in 


many points with similar instructions in the Byzantine "Painters 
Guide." It runs thus : 

Christ dark brown his hair, Jcag and airled ; he wears a forked beard. 

Peter q~ite gray, with a brownish black beard. 

Paul dark and rather bald. 

Andrew dark, with bushy hair and a long beard. 

Jacob son of Zebedee, dark hair and long beard. ^ 

John dark hair and bushy, and without any beard. 

Philip red (haired) with long beard. 

Bartholomew dark hair in ringlets, and with long bearX 

Thomas very dark hair with long beard. 

Matthew dark hair in tresses, and with no beard. 

Jaraes, son of Alpheus dark hair with long beard. 

Tons the Baptist dark hair in curls with long beard. 

In the early Christian Art of France, St. Paul is always 
represented as bald with a tuft of hair on his brow; James, who 
in the Irish and Byzantine MSS. is represented as voung and 


dark-bearded, is in the Art of the Latin Church always old and 
white-haired ; and while in Western Continental Art St. John is 
young, fair, and beardless, in Byzantine and Irish An he is shown 
as an aged man with a long white beard. In another place, the 
Byzantine " Guide"* directs that in the pictures of :he Crucinxion, 
near the Virgin Mother stands St. John Theologos, " in sorrow, 
his cheek resting on his hand " just as he appears in the doorway 
of the cathedral of Freiburg in Breisgau, which figure exactly 
resembles that on the silver shrine of St. Moedoc. and also on 
the sculptured panels of the doorway of the old church at 
Freshford, Co. Kilkenny 

Dr. Reeves has drawn attention to an Irish poem on the 
personal appearance, and the manner of death, of Christ and His 
Apostles,t which he says seems to be framed according to certain 
rules that guided the ancient scribes in the illuminations of their 
Biblical manuscripts, and may possibly find a partial illustration in 
the figures which appear in the " Book of Kells," and other M3S. 
of that class. 

The order in which the Apostles are here named varies from 
that of the Roman Missal, but resembles that of the names in the 
inscription on the Apostles' chalice found at Ardagh y county of 
Limerick (see p. 88, supra), as well as in the Litany in the MS. at 
SL Gall and in the Bobio Missal. In the Byzantine " Painters* 
Guide " found on Mount Athos the instructions are as follows : 


St. Peter an old man with a round beard. 

St. Paul bald, beard gray and rushlike. 

St. Andrew an old man, frizzled hair, forked beard. 

St. James young, beard beginning. 

St. John Theologos an old man, bald, large, not very thick beard. 

St. Philip young, beardless. 

St. Bartholomew young, beard beginning. 

St. Thomas young, beardless. 

St. Matthew, evangelist old man, long beard. 

St. Luke, evangelist young man, curled hair, small beard. 

St. Simon Zelotes old man, bald, round beard. 

* See Didron, " Christian Iconography," voL ii. App. pp. 317, 356. 
t " Codex Maelbrighte," Fol. 9 b , Brit. Mus. HarL No. 1802. 


The correspondence in the order of this Byzantine passage 
with that of the poem referred to by Dr. Reeves in the " Codex 
Maelbrighte " is most interesting. In the old Irish poem, we 
read : 


Petty are (all) the forms save God's form. 
Not a form which served one complexion. 
Auburn hair of three locks had He, 
And a beard red, very lor.g : 

The form of Peter the apostle, the great champion, 

His pure hair was bright gray. 

Fair (and) discreet f? the happy man : 

Rough, very short his beard. 

Paul the apostle, delightful his visage. 
With hair very beautiful, fawn-coloured, 
Until his comrades cut it short 
Paul's beard was truly long, 

James (and) Andrew the comrades, 
Fair their hairs, long their beard. 
Dear, great deacons were the pair, 
Both James and Andrew. 

John of the bosom, dear God's fosterling, 
Brown was his hair indeed. 
The . . . was calm, loveable. 
He was a young beardless. . . 

Philip, a long beard on him. 
And a red visage with excellence. 
Red hair above a short beard 
On Bartholomew the sweet-prayered. 


Curly black hair on Matthew's head, 
Without ... of a tyrant's beard. 
Curly hair on Thaddeus without disgrace, 
A beard equally long, equally fulL 

James the kneed, with a pure voice, 
Son of AlpheuSj who was not merciless. 
Gray hair on James all, 
And a light-yellow beard. 

Thomas, choice of form (was) his form, 
Brown-curly his hair, not uncertain. 
There was no blemish to my comrade 
Rough, short (was) his pure beard. 
Fair hair on Simon noble, slender, 
And a skin all white, very tight, 
And a beard jet-black, curly, 
A ruddy face, a very blue eye. 
John of the Baptism was not poor : 
Brown his beard, brown his hair. 
The forms of the men slender, tall 
Meseems they are not very petty.* 

The date of this second old Irish poem is said to be about 
A.D. 1130, and we see that there is a variation from the Byzantine 
to the Latin type in many instances ; thus John is no longer to be 
represented as an aged man, but as we are accustomed to see 
him in Art of a later date, young and fair and gentle. 

Another instance may be brought forward of the light shed 
upon obscure and incomprehensible forms in our early Art by 
passages in our ancient literature. We find the Irish version of 
the lion cub legend, so often illustrated on our monuments in 
the Speckled Book ( Ai Lebor Brecc J: ), p. 1675, lines 63-68. It is 
as follows : 

" Jacob, son of Isaac, was the first who prophesied when he 
* See " Revue Ceitique," torn. viii. p. 351. 


was foretelling of his son, to wit of Judah, and said: 'This is 
what I deem Judah like,' saith Jacob, *to wit, a lion's whelp, 
what, who shall rouse him up? J For this is the peculiarity of 
that whelp, that it is three days in death immediately after its 
birth. And the male lion comes to it, and puts his breath round 
it, and roars over it with a great voice, and then raises up the 
whelp to life. Thus then arose Christ from the dead, through the 
might of the Heavenly Father. 77 

In this passage we find the explanation of a hitherto incompre- 
hensible group on a panel of one of the crosses in the churchyard 
of Kells, Co. Meath ; it also occurs on a stone at Dunfallandy in 
Perthshire, and in the space above the arm of the cross at Shand- 
wick in Ross-shire, Scotland. How greatly the interest of this 
incident is increased when we recognise the same symbol taken 
by Giotto from the " Physiologus," and used by him to signify the 
raising of man from :he dead ! The Irish passage in the MS. of 
the K Speckled Book v is evidently an extract from some such 
work as " Physiologus :J or a Bestiaire, and in the writings of 
Isidore we find the following explanation of i: : 

"When the lioness has brought forth the cub she is said to 
sleep during three days, until by the sound of the father's roar, 
which causes her sleeping place as it were to tremble, she rouses 
the sleeping cub : so Christ when he has given us birth upon the 
cross, slept during three days until the great movement of the 
earth was made, and he was roused in the blessed Resurrection, 
SD when the three days were ended from Adam to Noah, from 
Xoah to Moses, from Moses to the Maccabees at that time 
came the father of all, Christ, who breathes by his sacred teaching 
into their faces and brings them to life." 

In the history of the origin and development of our icono- 
graphy, it seems clear that we must follow the clue given us by 
Mr. John Evans in the first chapter of his description of the 
early British coins. In the early coinages of Gaul and Britain we 
find that the successive copyists of some fine Greek or Roman 


original, departing farther and farther from the spirit and form 
of rhe prototypes, at last developed typical forms which are 
intelligible only when the series of steps by which the degraded 
form was reached have been demonstrated. So it was with the 
stone-cutters in the East of Scotland, and in Ireland with the 
miniature-painters also. Their work, where tliey attempt the 
human figure, is the degenerate form whose prototype may be 
traced back to the first Christian sarcophagi, or the earliest Byzan- 
tine painting. Rude as are these Irish and Scottish versions of 
the old stereotyped subjects of early Christian Art, they are net 
half so wide a departure from their prototypes as is the British 
coin found at Pickering, in Yorkshire, in 1853, from the coin of 
Philip the Second of Macedon to which Mr. Evans has traced i:s 
origin. "It is difficult," he observes, "to imagine more bar- 
barous art than is found on this coin ; nor can we well conceive a 
type in which the noble laureate head and biga, on the 
Macedonian prototype, are more completely degenerated, and 
indeed entirely forgotten, than in this with which the series I 
have attempted to describe concludes." 

The usual variations from the prototype in the series of 
British and Gaulish coins alluded to are as follows : 

The face has been to some measure preserved, but vulgarised ; 
the outline of the head has been destroyed, the hair convention- 
alised, reduced to a formal system of lines, the front locks appear 
as three open crescents, the curls and laurel- wreath are reduced 
to a meaningless symmetrical pattern, while a hook stands for the 
beautiful curve of the ear. On the reverse, the biga has entirely 
disappeared, while the four horses have melted into one. The 
original was probably seen by the Gauls when Brennus plundered 
Greece, B.C. 279. And for four centuries after, copies more and 
more degraded were multiplied as the type travelled northward, 
till all resemblance to the original disappeared. 

As the prototypes of Christian subjects on the Scottish stones, 
PART. n. c 


Mr. Anderson has brought forward examples drawn from the 
Vatican Codex, from sarcophagi at Aries, at Ravenna, and at 
Velletri, of such purely Christian subjects as Daniel in the 
lions' den, the raising of Lazarus, the destruction of Pharaoh's 
host in the Red Sea, the ascension of Elijah; and we see them 
in his pages and illustrations brought, as it were, face to face 
with their rude and, hitherto, incomprehensible copies on the 
High Crosses at Kells and Moone Abbey in Ireland, and at 
lona, and on the stone at S. Vigean's, or on that brought to 
Abbotsford from Woodwray, on a sculptured stone at St. 
Andrew's, and others at Dunkeld and Meigle. 

The Ark of Xoah is seen occasionally grouped with the 
representation of the Temptation, as it appears on a sarcophagus 
at Velletri (Fig. 60;, and Mr. Anderson compares this with the 
Ark on the High Cross of Keils and adds: " The sculptor of the 
Irish cross, while adhering to the traditional elements of the 
conventional group a box, a man, and a dove departed from 
the earlier mode of expression by making the box in the form oi 
a galley, with a high-curved prow and stern, and with windows in 
its sides (Fig. 61). The vessel is shown riding on the waves, the 
head of Xoah only is visible, and the dove appears resting on 
the side. The variation in the form of expression is great, 
but the essential elements of the group are present, and 
recognisable." * 

The iconography, so far as it has as yet been deciphered, of 
the High Crosses of Ireland, embraces a variety of subjects 
carved in the panels of the following crosses : 
^lonasterboice (South-East Cross ).f The Fall of Man; Expulsion 
from Eden ; Adam delves and Eve spins; Cain kills Abel; 
The Worship of the Magi, with its type, the Three Warriors 
before David; Michael and Satan at the Weighing of 
Souls ; The Crucifixion and Last Judgment. These sub- 
jects occupy nine out of twenty-two panels, the subjects 
of the remaining thirteen being yet unexplained 

* See "Scotland in Early Christian Times," 2nd Series, J. Anderson. 
t See Frontispiece. 


Monasterboice (West 
Cross). Crucifixion, 
with its type, the 
Sacrifice of Isaac; 
The Empty Tomb 
guarded by sleeping 
Soldiers, with the 
types of the Descent 
into Hell, Samson 
with Lion and Bear, 
David with Goliath ; 
Christ in Glory. 
These six subjects 
are the only ones 
that have been ex- 
plained out of the 
twenty - four panels 
on this monument. 

CldJimacnois (North 
Cross). Twenty-four 
subjects in panels, 
twelve of which have 
been deciphered. 
Facing west : Betrayal 
and Seizure of Christ ; 
Crucifixion, and 
Tomb guarded by 
Soldiers. East face: 
The Resurrection, cr 
Christ in Glory; 
Musicians; Last 
Judgment ; Trum- 
peters to right, con- 
demned to the left; 
The Mission to the 


Ap os ties. 
On sides: 
Christ spear- 
ing Satan; 
David; The 
Hand of the 
Father ap- 
pearing from 

C lonmacnois 
Cross). On 
west face, 
the Cruci- 
fixion, with 
Lance and 

Tuam Cross. 
on one side; 
figure of a 
Bishop on 
the other; a 
funeral pro- 
cession, ap- 
parently, on 
the reverse. 

K ilia mery. 
on west side ; 
in panel, a 
wheel (that of 
Elijah), type 



Dunnamaggan. Crucifixion on west side ; Sun, MOOD, and Stars 
on the east side; figure of a Bishop with long crosier at 
each side. 

Kilklispem. Six Bishops with crosier getting their mission from 
an ecclesiastic. On side of base, a chariot. 

Uliard* ist Cross. Crucifixion in centre, and its type, the 
Sacrifice of Isaac, on right arm of the Cross, with David 
and his Harp on the left ; Peter and Paul above ; Demons 


below. On the 2nd Cross, the Crucifixion, and panels 
filled with interfacings ; and on the 3rd Cross of Uuard 
we find the Fall of Man, and the Crucifixion, with its type, 
the Sacrifice of Isaac. 

Tcrmon Ftchin. Crucifixion, with Lance and Sponge, on the east 
side, and Christ in Glory on the west. 

Moone Abbey. Twenty subjects in panels, seven of which have 
been explained : The Fall of Man ; The Crucifixion, 
and its type, the Sacrifice of Isaac, the Twelve Apostles 
below; The Flight into Egypt, and idols; the types 


of Christ's Temptation and Descent into Hell ; Daniel 
among Lions, and the Three Holy Children. A fish like 
a dolphin is over the head of Christ, 
ist Cross. On this Cross, which is dedicated to the 


memory of Patrick and Columba, there are eleven panels, 


seven subjects in which have been identified : The Fall of 
Man ; Cain and Abel ; and the four types of the Tempta- 
tion of Christ and the Descent into Hell, viz., David and 
Lion; Samson and Lion; David among Lions, and 
Three Holy Children. 
Ketts. and Cross. Ten subjects in panels, four of which have 


been explained as Noah In the Ark, and the Baptism of 
Christ ; Adam and Eve ; The Fall of Man. and the Cruci- 
fixion. (This Cross is unfinished, see O'Xeil, pp. ic, n.) 
Kells. 3rd Cross. Twenty subjects in panels, eight of which 
have been explained : on east side, the Fall of Man Cam 
and Abel ; The Crucifixion , with its type. Sacrifice cf 
Isaac. On the west side, the central figure is doiibtfi:'. 
It may be Daniel, or it may be that the animals are the 
Evangelical symbols in the midst of which Christ stands 
in glory ; The Death of St. Peter ; David with Lion and 
Bear ; Jacob wrestling with an Angel ; on the side, David 
and Goliath. 

In addition to those crosses, whose iconography has been 
thus far deciphered, there still remain twenty-two crosses upon our 
list, the subjects in the panels of which have not yet been described 
or illustrated. A list of these monuments may be here given : 

Kilkieran Co. Kilkennv. 

Arboe ... ... Co. Tyrone. 

Armagh Co. Armagh. 

Kilcuuen ... . Co. Kildare. 

Banagher ... Co. Kilkerny. 

Dromore ,. Co. Down. 

Xewtownards ... ... ... Co. Down. 

Dnimcliff Co. Sligo. 

Delgany Co. Wicklow. 

Cong Co. Galway. 

Castledermot ... Co. Kildare. 

Tullagh. ... ... Co. Dublin. 

St. Kieras's Cross Aian Island, Co. Galway 

Biessmgton Co. \Vicklow. 

Donaghmore Monaghan. 

Lisnock Meath. 

Killeony Arau, Co. Galway. 

Roscrea Co. Tipperary. 

King's Court ... ... ... Wicklow. 

Dmmgoolan ... ... ... Co. Down. 

Cashel Co. Tipperziry. 

Durro w King's County . 

The subjects most commonly met with in Scotland on 
sculptured crosses of the same type as the Irish, are St. Michael 


spearing the Dragon : St. Michael weighing Souls, with Satan 
putting his hand in the scale ; the Fall of Man, the Nativity, the 
Flight into Egypt, the Miracle of Healing the Blind, the Betrayal, 
Crucifixion, Ascension of our Lord, the Last Judgment, Heaven, 
Hell, Death, and the Trinity, which last is symbolised by three 
globes or circles, or else by the figure of God the Father holding 
the crucified Son, above whose head the dove is resting. It is 
strange to find a scene from the " Dance of Death," upon a carved 
stone in the churchyard of Soroby in the island of Tiree, or to 
see, upon a cross in the island in Harris, angels carrying souls 
through the air, and poor sinners torn to pieces in hell after the 
manner of the resurrection angels and death demons of the 
Campo Santo at Pisa. Of course, when we bring these rude 
images, found among our islands, face to face, even in thought, 
with the finest examples of the treatment of the same subjects 
in Italian Art of the best style, it is difficult to realise that there 
can be any connection between them, although the resemblance 
is most striking when we compare them with the rude carvings 
on such old buildings as San Michele in Pavia. or the cathedral 
of Freiburg in Breissau. 

o o 

It seems strange that, upon these Christian monuments of 
Great Britain and Ireland, we should find associated with the 
symbols of Crucifixion and of Judgment, scenes from royal pro- 
cessions, chariots, horsemen, hunting scenes, stags at bay, and 
other such mundane delights as to us seem out of place beside 
the sacred form of the dying or the risen Saviour. Can it be that 
such scenes are meant to represent heaven and the joys of the 
life to corae, as they were pictured in the fancy of the Irish or 
Scottish Christian artist ? 

These eyes will find 

The men I knew, and watch the chariot \\hiri 
About the goal again, and hunters race 
The shadowy lion, and the warrior kings, 
In height and prowess more than human, strive 
Again for glory, while the golden lyre 
Is ever sounding in heroic ears. 


We know that, in other instances, pagan forms and ideas lived 
on in the Christian Art of these islands long after they had died 
out elsewhere ; and it seems quite possible that these groups of 
huntsmen, animals, trumpeters, and harpers found on Irish and 
Scottish monuments may belong to visions of a future state re- 
sembling that of Tennyson's seer. 

Before we leave the subject of the sculptured and inscribed 
stones of Ireland, it may be well to compare the Art of the Irish 
schools with that of the Scotch, the so-called Anglo-Saxon, the 
Manx, and the Welsh sculptured stones. In all, we do indeed 
find the same ornamental material used, interfacings, trumpet 
patterns, diagonal patterns, serpents, etc.; but this similarity in 
detail proves nothing further than intercommunication. So total 
a dissimilarity of spirit and feeling for Art exists in the works of 
these different countries, that it becomes impossible to conceive 
their productions as belonging to the same school. It would be 
difficult to find two works of art more different in character than 
the simple form of the Cross of Ualk in Clonmacnois, and the 
barbarous extravagance of the Scotch slab at Halkirk in Caithness. 
Something more than archeology is required to perceive this. 
To the mere archaeologist, antiquity is everything, and Art nothing ; 
but the mind of the great man who founded :he Irish 
school of archceology, George Petrie, was one of wider grasp, 
and such a mind as his is required to perceive the qualities which 
form the essential elements of the individuality of Irish Art. It is 
not in the quantity, it is not even in the nature of ornamental 
detail, that true merit lies ; it is in its use, and in that indefinable 
quality which, for want of a better word, we term feeling. It is 
unreasonable to call sculpture, however perfect, which is merely 
encrusted on an object, ornament Decoration is beautiful oniy 
when found in its right place, when adding to the effect of the 
fundamental form to be adorned : and when held in subordina- 
tion and subjection to the primary idea, a noble reserve of power 
is felt to exist, which comes forth at the right time, and in the 


right place, to aid in the expression of the essential elements 
of the subject, emphasizing its important points, and adding 
clearness to the beauty of its outline. To take an illustration 
from another art, we find that a great musician may lead the 
simplest theme through labyrinths of delightful sound, and the 
thread of melody is never lost ; while the inferior artist loses it in 
torrents of notes. Redundance without self-restraint in all things 
leads to failure, and there is no delight in beauty which will not 
lose its freshness unless wisely governed. In the practice of all 
Art, Shakespeare's words should be our guide : "But use all gently; 
for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the whirlwind 
of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may 
give it smoothness." 

It is in such qualities that the Manx, Welsh, and some of the 
Scottish stones are so deficient, as compared with the work upon 
the sepulchral slabs of Clonmacnois, and Durrow, and other 
Christian cemeteries in Ireland j and the conclusion our experience 
would point to is that such Art out of Ireland belongs to much the 
same date as that seen in this country, but is in no essential 
element Irish, and merely belongs to a style which overspread 
the three countries in the ninth and tenth centuries, and which 
attained a more beautiful result in Ireland, because in the hands 
of a people possessed of a fine artistic instinct 


The sculptured crosses and inscribed tombstones of Ireland 
have been described and illustrated in the following works : 

Petrie, "Christian Inscriptions in the Irish Language." 
Dublin, 1872. For Royal Historical and Archaeological 
Association of Ireland. 

O'Xeil, "Sculptured Crosses of Ancient Ireland" London, 


Samuel Ferguson, " Photographs from Ogham Casts r 
(Transactions, Royal Irish Academy), Vol. xxvii. 

George Du Xoyer, " Sketches for Ordnance Survey." Memoir 
24, D. 27. Library, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. 

Sir Samuel Ferguson, "Ogham Inscriptions in Ireland ar.d 
Wales." Edinburgh: Douglas, 1887. 



y\ HE rise and development of Christian 
architecture in Ireland cannot be 
understood without some knowledge 
of the buildings erected by her inhabitants 
! before the introduction of Christianity. It 
is evident from still existing remains, that 
the first monks merely adopted the method 
of building then practised among the natives, 
and these early traditions give an archaic character to the 
architecture of the country down to a comparatively late date. 

The first builders of Ireland whose monuments still bear 
witness to their labours were the dolmen or cromlech builders. 
These primitive people appear to have advanced so far as to erect 
megalithic monuments built with stones of great weight ; to 
shape, polish, and sharpen tools of flint and stone. The fact that 
they celebrated funereal rites in tombs of imposing grandeur, with 
cremation and sometimes even urn-burial, bears witness to a 
comparatively advanced religious condition. They formed axes, 
chisels, gouges, daggers, knives, and spearheads in flint, and 
hammers, discs, and axes of stone, while deposits of such objects, 
along with strings of shells and amber, were laid in their tombs, 
perhaps as propitiatory offerings. Besides this first industry, the 
manufacture of tools, there is evidence of the use of fire for 


boiling and baking food and for shaping and burning pottery, as 
well as the rearing of domestic animals and culture of cereals. It 
cannot be proved that any sculpture, however rude, or any 
ornament whatever, was attempted by the dolmen builders of 

There is a marked difference in the general aspect of the 
dolmens of Ireland as we advance from the east to the west. 
Those in the east are of much greater size than those in the west. 
Thus, in Leinster, the roofing stones of the cromlech vary in 
length from 18 to 29 ft., and their weight is on an average 
no tons; in Ulster, the average length of the roofing stone is 
25 ft, while in Connaught the average length is 8 to 10 ft., and in 
Munster from 7 to 14 ft This gradual degeneration of the type 
in Ireland as we travel westward across the island, would lead us 
10 surmise that the dolmen builders, who have left still finer 
monuments in Britain and on the Continent, reached the Irish 
shores from the east, the stream of emigration pressing westward 
till its final arrest on the Atlantic coast 

We have records more or less complete of the excavations 
made in twenty-three of the dolmens of Ireland, fourteen 
kistvsens, and twelve tumuli. Bones have been discovered 
beneath each of these dolmens examined, but urns have only 
been found in four instances ; flint arrow-heads, stone hatchets, 
sling-stones, rings of shale and jet, had been buried with these 
bones. Where urns have been found, as at Cloughmore, in DOWB, 
they are enclosed in a chamber, sometimes 8 ft long by 3 ft. 
high, and 3 ft wide. 

Traces of urn-burial have been found in every tumulus that 
has been as yet excavated in Ireland. From a hundred and fifty 
to two hundred urns were disinterred in the tombs on Rnih-hill, 
near Drogheda, all filled with burnt bones ; a flint arrow-head and 
bone pin was found near one. Occasionally, as at Loughanmore, 
the urns are upside down, the ashes lying beneath ; a large urn in 
the centre and smaller ones disposed around. In many instances 


these urns are very beautiful in form and delicately ornamented. 
They were sometimes placed upon the lap of the deceased ; thus 
in a tomb within a tumulus at Tully-druid a human skeleton 
sitting and holding an urn was discovered. Again, at Dysart in 
Westmeath, another seated figure facing N.E., with an urn in its 
lap, was found in a tomb with a paved floor strewn with burned 
human bones and fragments of baked clay. The skeleton was 
well preserved his skull showed that he belonged to a long- 
headed race. 

These dolmens are sometimes surrounded by circles of upright 
stones, which circles measure from 150 ft. in diameter to 160 ft. 

The tumuli or dome-roofed sepulchres of Ireland are many 
degrees in advance of the dolmens. They are built without 
cement, and betray the same ignorance of the principle of the 
arch as is common to the primitive builders in all countries. The 
urns found in them are of great size, and often of stone- but that 
which marks these monuments as wholly distinct from the 
dolmens, is the decoration carved upon their walls. The tumuli 
in which we find such carvings are the royal cemeteries of 
Newgrange, Dowth, Teltoun, and Rathkenny. Both walls and 
roof are covered with incised patterns ; these are cups, and circles, 
groups of concentric circles, spirals, half-moons, zig-zags, tenons, 
semicircles, lozenges, rhomboids, dots, stars, and leaves with 
stem and veinings. These cuttings are executed with chisel and 
scraper, or often with a punch or pick. 

These tumuli are mentioned in the Annals of Ireland as regal 
cemeteries, whereas there is no historic legend connected with the 
dolmens. It would be well, however, to gather all the superstitions 
and fairy tales connected with such monuments throughout 
Europe, since it is quite possible that comparative mythology 
might cast some light upon their origin. In Ireland the following 
traditions exist in connection with such monuments : 

1. That they are the tombs of men killed on the field of battle. 

2. That the isolated dolmens are the tombs of heroes. 


3. That they are giants' graves. 

4. That they mark the grave or bed of a mythical cow, Glas 

5. That the dolmen Is the tomb of a wild huntsman. 

6. That the dolmen is the grave of a famous hound. 

7. Circles of stones are a group of fain- pipers turned to stone."* 
The most common tradition in Ireland, and particularly in 

the county of Galway, is that the dolmen or cromlech sheltered 
the lovers Dermod and Grania, who, flying before the Avenger's 
face, rested in caves and grottoes, on beds of fern and moss, or 
within the chambers beneath the roofing stone of the cromlech. 

Among the drawings of dolmens in the Petrie Collection, we 
find one which looks like a transition from a primitive type. It 
is the dolmen of Gleneask, at Tyreragh, in the county of Sligo. 
In this instance the roofing stone does not rest simply on its 
three upright pillars ; relieving stones have been inserted, one of 
which measures 8 ft in length. 

This is a remarkable indication of an early effort at building 
proper, a link between the tomb formed of one great roofing 
stone raised on pillars and the domed roof of the cave tomb ; such 
a link as we might expect to find if the dolmens of Ireland are of 
a later date than elsewhere in Europe, since it is because of the 
more recent date of consecutive styles in this country that such 
links are discoverable, indications of transition that have been 
lost in the vaster tracts of time covered by the archaeology of 
other races. 

Among the various designs which compose the decoration of 
the walls of these tumuli, such as New Grange, are many which, 
though inferior in execution, ruder in design, yet seem but 
repetitions of similar decorations in the cave tombs of Malta 
and other islands in the Mediterranean. It is worthy of note that 
the one design by which the bronzes of the late Celtic period are 

* See Transactions of the OssizniC Society, vol. iii. p. lS5. Joyce. " Old 
Celtic Romances," p. 25. Sir T. Ferguson, i{ Lays of the Western Gael," p. 57. 


characterised in the British Islands is never found in the tumuli. 
We refer to the double divergent spiral, or trumpet pattern 
already described at page 73, Part I. 

It yet remains to decide the date of this design in Ireland. 
In Britain it seems to have flourished from two centuries before 
the Christian era to the time of the Roman occupation, but 
whether it is later in Ireland may still be questioned. It certainly 
lingered much longer in this country than elsewhere, and works 
in metal marked by it may belong to a period bordering on that 
of the introduction of Christianity into Ireland, i.e. the third 

As we have observed, there is no connection between such 
decorative Art as that which is characterised by this design, and 
that of the tumuli builders, yet we do see this design in an early 
and tentative form on carved bones found at Slieve-na-Calliaghe, as 
well as upon the sides of a stone cist at Clover Hill, in the county 
of Sligo. 

Again, there are two distinct modifications of this design 
found on the monuments of Ireland, one appearing on the bronze 
and gold ornaments of apparently pre-Christian Art, the other 
on decidedly Christian monuments down to the eleventh and 
twelfth centuries ; and there are two pillar-stones in Kerry whence 
we may trace a transition from the one to the other from the 
pre-Christian form to that found in the Christian MSS., shrines, 
etc. These stones belong to the first Christian period in Ireland ; 
one bears a bilingual inscription half in Ogham, half in Roman 

There seems little reason to doubt that the Ogham character 
prevailed in Ireland about the transition period, from paganism 
to the introduction of Christianity in the third and fourth centuries,, 
and remained in use for some time after the introduction of the 
Roman letter.* 

* The formation of Ogham letters consists in groups of incised lines and 
duts alan^ a stem line. The consonants are formed by incised lines from three 


Stones thus inscribed are found in burial-places unconnected 
with churches, old pagan cemeteries which continued :o be used 
in Christian times and by a Christian people. Bu: in Ireland 
they are also found in a class of building which seems certainly 
to have been of pagan origin, and that is the Earth-house or 
subterranean treasure-house. 

In fourteen instances with which we are acquainted, Ogham 
inscriptions are found on the walls of these earth-houses. ND 
sijins of interments appear to have been found in any of the 
buildings to which these inscriptions belong ; no human remains, 
charcoal, or pottery were discovered in them. It appears to be 
the case with the earth-houses of Ireland as with those of Scotland, 
that there is no indication of Christianity in connection with them ; 
and, in Scotland, the discovery of wheel-mace pottery of Reman 
type, and fragments of red lustrous ware called Samian, with 
querns, and implements of iron, bronze armlets decorated with 
the trumpet pattern, all indicate a period between that of 
the Roman occupation of Britain and the establishment of 

It is to this late Celtic period that we would assign the erec- 
tion of the first great non-sepulchral buildings of Ireland. This 
period extended from two hundred years before the birth of 
Christ, to the time of the Roman occupation of Britain. Ireland 
is remarkable for the number and variety of Celtic bronzes, looped 
spear-heads, ferules, socketed cells, trumpets, horns, etc. A 
people who brought these industries to such perfection, may well 
have been the builders of such vast fortresses as these of Dun 
Aengus, Dun Conor, and Murvey Mil in Aran Mor. 

These stone forts or Duns are found on the western shores of 
the counties of Kerry, Clare, Galway, SI:go, while occasional 

to five inches in length when above and below the stem line, and from fosr to 
seven inches when across the same ; these last are sometimes vertical to the 
stem line, sometimes oblique. The vowels are formed by strong, oval, and 
sometimes round dots, on the angle or stem. 



examples of them also occur in Mayo, Donegal, and Antrim. 
Twenty-four such buildings were examined by Lord Dunraven on 
the west coast of Ireland, seven of which were in the islands of 
Aran. These forts are amphitheatres, encircled by outer walls, 
rather than towers. They are either oval or circular buildings, 
enclosing an area of from 227 to 142 ft., with external lines of 
walls protecting this inner keep, enclosing a space in some cases 
1,174 ft. in diameter. 

For a period so primitive, and at a time when cemented and 
lool-dressed masonry was unknown, the construction of these 
walls is marvellously fine. Without mortar of any kind, they are 
raised in such compact and close-fitting masses, that they have 
been enabled to endure the wind and rain of many centuries. 
Built of stones, varying in magnitude according to the districts in 
which they are found, but often of great size, each wail consists 
of a central core of rough rubble, faced on both sides by stones, 
carefully chosen and laid so as to produce an even surface. 

Three such structures, thus composed of a rubble centre and 
faced in cry walling, form a triple, compact mass, usually 18 ft. 
in thickness and 20 fr. in height. In many cases vertical 
jointings are observable in these walls, a circumstance that 
suggests the idea of the work having been portioned out in lots 
to the labourers. 

It seems as if the wall had been built in short lengths, each 
completed independently of the other, and such a method would 
resemble that which the French term building in pares. Then 
the stones which are fixed as headers are tilted downwards 
towards the face of the wall, so as to draw off the moisture from 
the joints. 

These details, along with the existence of regular doorways, at 
once raise these forts to the rank of " buildings," and place them 
far above the ordinary camps and strongholds of the Britons, the 
entrances to which are but gaps in the bai:k. In these door- 
ways, which are ail formed with inclined sides and horizontal 



lintels, T7e see, as at Staigue Fort and DIIII Aengus, thai the v;e:ght 
of the superstructure is thrown off the lintel by r.:eans of - s::Ii 


wider stone placed a layer or two above it ; and at Dun Aengus 
a vertical line, formed by a projection of the portion of the wall 
around the doorway, seems to have been intended to follow and 
mark out its outline, as did the architrave in apertures of a later 
date. These doorways vary in depth from 1 6 to 27 ft., and are 
roofed by a series of stone slabs from 6 to 8 ft. in length. 

In some cases, a reveal in the centre of the passage shows 
that it was occasionally furnished with double doors, which were 
also fastened with bolts, or rather bars of wood, the holes for the 
reception of which may still be seen. The door is sometimes 
approached by a passage between two walls formed of long stones 
t-et upright. And the approach to the outworks is defended by 
stones set on end, so as to form a kind of chevaux-de-frise^ or 
labyrinth, in the effort to penetrate which, any body of men must 
become scattered and their lines broken. 

Platforms, offsets, or banquettes ran along the inner sides of 
the walls, to which four, and sometimes even ten, independent 
flights of steps gave access. Passages and dome-roofed chambers 
occur in the thickness of the walls, and in the inner area of the 
fortress little round huts with conical roofs, or long ones like 
upturned boats, are found constructed in clusters. 

These huts with conical roofs or domes are formed in a 
manner universally adopted by early races in all periods of the 
history of man and in various portions of the globe, where stone 
was available ; before the knowledge of the principle of the arch 
had reached them. The dome is formed by the projection of one 
stone beyond another till the wails meet in one flag at the apex. 
This system, along with certain resemblances in masonry, has 
caused our antiquaries to apply the terms Cyclopean and Pela?gic 
to such structures, while the resemblance is purely accidental, 
arising from the condition of the builders' knowledge, and a 
certain similarity in the geological formation of the districts where 
such buildings were found. Among the earliest architectural 
remains found at Hissarlik by Schliemann, the walls, though of 


massive construction, so far as their thickness and solidity are 
concerned, have no resemblance to Cyclopean structures : but are 
composed of stones of moderate size, with the interstices rilled 
with clay. This difference may be accounted for by the fact that 
the soft tertiary limestone of the hill of Hissariik is totally unsuited 
to such massive work, and so in Ireland it may be questioned 
whether the art of stone building in certain districts throughout 
the country did not occasionally arise from the abundance of 
stone and scarcity of earth, while in other places, where stones 
were not available without quarrying, we find earthen forts, raths, 
and embankments. 

These duns or forts are held to belong to the culminating 
epoch of the heroic legendary period immediately preceding the 
introduction of Christianity, and are associated with che adventures 
of Aengus and Conor and Muirbhech Mil of Fergus azid Cuchulair,, 
heroes of the Firbolg race. They may have been in existence 
two centuries or more before the introduction of Christianity into 
Ireland, but at all events they appear to have continued in use 
after the introduction of Christianity ; and many instances are 
recorded in the Lives of the Saints, of a king or chieftain, on his 
conversion to Christianity, offering to God his diin or fortress, 
so that the missionary and his followers might erect their little 
cells and oratory within the area of the amphitheatre. 

The house of Conall, brother of the king of Meath, was given 
up to St. Patrick upon the occasion of its master's conversion, 
and the church of Donaghpatrick at Tailtenn was built upon that 
site. The fortress of Dun Lughaidh was also given up to St 
Patrick when the lord of the country and his four brothers and 
father were baptized, and the church of Kilbennan was founded 
within its walls.* The Cathair or stone fortress of Aodh Finn, the 
son of Feargna, chieftain of Breifny, was given up to St. Caillen 
that he might erect his monastic buildings within it, and the 
interior of the fortress of Muirbheach Mil, the Firbolg chief, in 
* See the "Tripartite Life of St. Patrick." 


the island of Aran, is now occupied by the remains of the 
primitive cells of the first Christian converts.* 

With these facts before us it is easy to see how the first 
Christian architecture in Ireland was developed from the pagan. 
It would appear that the monks adopted the method of building 
then practised by the natives before the introduction of Chris- 
tianity, gradually making such modifications in form as their 
difference of purpose and some traditional usage required. Within 
the stone fort, now become Christian, or the Cashel, built in 
imitation of it, the first Christians found shelter for their little 
oratories, their round beehive huts, their wells, gardens, and 
lezckta^ or burial-grounds or leaba-na-marabhan^ beds of the 
dead, as they are called, where the practice of the primitive Irish 
Cnurch was a transition from the primitive pagan practice of 
raising a circle of upright stones, for they enclosed a green 
oblong space with pillar-stones set close together, each stone of 
the enclosure being marked with a cross. The oratories of this 
pence, and within these cashels, are angular, oblong structures,, 
with walls either sloping in a curve towards the roof, or built in 
steps, and often formed like upturned boats. They measure on 
an average 14 ft. long by 9 ft. wide, and 12 ft. high. 

It seems probable that in these rude buildings we find the 
germs of what in after times developed into characteristic features 
of churches belonging to a more advanced age and style. Thus, 
it is possible that the plinth, from which both tower and church 
are seen to rise, may have originated in the retention of the first 
step which forms tne base of the rude oratory; also the projec- 
tions in front of the door at each side, evidently meant for 
shelter, may have given rise to the deep pilasters at the corners 
of the east and west walls of the later churches. The projecting 
stones in the corners and roofs of these monastic cells like 
brackets originally meant as supports for scaffolding, were after- 
wards retained as ornamental features like gargoyles at the corners 
of the buildings. 

* See " Trias Thaum.," p. 204. " Life of St. Benen," Colgan. 




There is, besides, one feature in these oratories which marks 
the beginning of Christian architectural decoration. Over the 


doorway five or seven quartz stones, rounded and waterworn, 
whose whiteness tells in strong contrast to the dark slate of which 
the walls are often built, are set in the form of a cross. As time 
went on the rude form of the orator}-, resembling an upturned 
boat, was changed to that of an ark. 

In a representation of the Temple of Jerusalem, as it was 
conceived by the scribe of the ''Book of Kells" in the seventh 
century, we have an image of this early type as it appeared 
externallyan oblong, rectarpr.ilar building with a high-pitched 


root and finials on the gables, such as still are found in parts of 
Ireland, near the buildings, from the roofs of which they have 
fallen. It is not only the old traditional form of the ark, in 
which the Church was rescued from the flood, but also of the 
shrine in early Christian Art, in which the relics of the dead 
were entombed. It has always remained the form of the mor- 
tuary chapel and often of the tomb itself in Ireland. Indeed, 
in such places as Clonmacnois, most of the small churches grouped 
together within the cemetery were mortuary chapels, such as 
Temple Kelly, Temple McLaughlin, and others belonging to the 
kings of Hy Many, Moylurg, and North and South Munster. 





Mr. Ferr-sson has shown us, it will be remembered, how the 
circular churches of Romanesque architecture are also derived 
from the tomb, such as that of Cecilia Metella, or Sta. Helena,* 

A mistaken idea has long prevailed as to the situation of these 
early monastic establishments in Ireland. It has been thought 
that their traces are only to be found on the smaller uninhabited 
and inaccessible islands off the west coast, whereas the mountain 
tops, and the islands in the mountain tarns of Ireland, offer just as 
striking examples of anchorite establishments as do her western 
islands. Slieve Donard, Slieve Gullion, Slieve Liag, Brandon 
Mountain in Kerry, are still crowned by the beehive cells and 
cashels of SS. Domangart, Aed, Brendan, while in Lough Lee 
in Kerry, and in Goiigane Barra in Cork, the hermitages of 
St. Finan and St. Finbar may still be seen. St. Finan is supposed 
to have also been the founder of the monastery on the Skelligs, 
the " St. Michael's Rock " of Ireland. 

This rock rises perpendicularly out of the sea to a great height. 
In stands twelve miles from the nearest land out in the Atlantic 
Ocean, and on a ledge or platform of the summit of one shoulder, 
the monastery was erected. It is approached from a landing- 
piace on the north-east side. There are still remaining six 
hundred steps cut by the monks in the cliff, which rises to 
720 ft. above the level of the sea, the lower part of this ascent 
being now broken away. The island has been the scene of 
annual pilgrimages for many centuries, and the service of the 
Way of the Cross is still remembered here ; different points and 
turnings in the cliffs being named after the different stations, 
such as the Garden of the Passion, Christ's Saddle, the Stone of 
Pain, the Rock of Woman's Wailing, etc. 

The plateau occupied by the monastic buildings is about 
180 ft. In length, and from So ft. to ico ft. in width. These 
buildings consist of the church of St. Michael, two smaller 
* "Hist. Architecture," vol. i. pp. 319, 321, 381* 




oratories, and six cells or beehive dwelling-houses, two holy wells 
and five Icacnia^ or burial-grounds, with many rude stone crosses. 
They are all enclosed by a cashel or wall running along the edge 
of the precipice, which in its whole character strongly resembles 
the wall of Staigue Fort on the mainland. 

" It is astonishing, " writes Lord Dunraven, " to conceive the 
courage and skill of the builders of this fine wall, placed as it is 
01 the very ed::e of the precipice, at a vast height above the sea, 
with no possible standing ground outside the wall from which 
the builders could have worked; yet the face is as perfect as that 
of Staigue Fort, the interstices of the greater stones filled in with 
smaller ones, all fitted as compactly, and with as marvellous 
firmness and skill" * 


The transition from the dry wall and undressed masonry, to 
the cemented walls and dressed stones of the later buildings, in 
which picked and chiselled work is visible, took place in the 
sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries. The cement first used, 
especially in buildings on the sea-coast, was largely composed of 
shells and sea-sand, while, inland, a compound of mud and gravel 
was used. The walls were first dry built, the composition poured 
in a liquid state upon the top of the walls and allowed to filtrate 
downwards ; later on, the wall was well built with two faces and 
a rubble core grouted in a similar manner ; while, in the time of 
Cormac O'Cillen, circa 950, we have the stones well bedded in 
good mortar. 

The archaic and massive character of this masonry, especially 
In the limestone districts, is very striking. The great stones, 
varying from 10 and even 17 ft. to 8 or 6 ft. in length, are often 
found dove-tailed and fitted into one another, and polygonal 
masonry often appears in company with ashlar, while ashlar is 
* See " Xotes on Irish Arcliitecture," vol L p. 30. 





seen occasionally superimposed by rubble, and wide-jointed, 
irregular courses of stone. 

The fact that masonry so archaic in character is seen in 
company with sectional and surface mouldings, as in Temple 
Martin, Temple Cronan, and St. Dervila's Church, Banagher and 
Maghtra in the Co. Londonderry, is a phenomenon which could 


only occur in a country where the chisel had been long in use, and 
the progress of sculpture, with still ruder tools, from its beginnings 
in the works of the primitive tomb builders, had been uninterrupted. 
The features by which these churches are characterised are 
the doorways with a great horizontal lintel stone and inclined 
jarnhs, a round-headed east window, the arch being scooped out 
of the stone, or pointed, the top being formed of two stones laid 
so as to make two sides of an equilateral triangle. They have 



FIG, 78 DOORWAY OF Thill LE MAi.IIN, i.ER:,.Y. 


pilasters running up the east and west wall, brackets, a projection 
at the junction of the roof and wall, and are raised upon a 

At first these churches consisted of but one chamber, and the 
chancels, where they now occur, are not bonded into the nave, 
but are evidently additions of a later period. The earliest form 
of the chancel arch is without imposts. The arch consists of a 
single sweep or soffit only, no subarch and no moulding or even 
chamfer, but the voussoirs are dressed and fitted with skill. A 
projecting unsquared block of stone, inserted between the top of 
the shaft and the spring of the arch in the rude church of 
Kilmacduach in Aran, is the first indication we have met of an 
impost being thought desirable ; then we have, a little later on,, 
imposts with chamfered edges, about 6 in. high, but only pro- 
jecting 2 in., and in some cases the arch is set back from the jambs 
from which it springs, a peculiarity which is represented in an arch 
in the " Book of Kells," and such as may be seen in the church of 
Weir on the island in the Orkneys. The transition from the 
false to the true arch is marked by such buildings as the church 
on Friars Island near Killaloe, and St. Columba's at Kells, and 
Sr. Kevin ? s at Glendalough. These, which all appear to be about 
the same date, were erected about 807, when we read, in the 
" Chronicura Scotorum," that the new establishment of Columcille 
at Kells was in process of erection. 

These buildings were sometimes roofed with shingles, but solid 
stone roofs were not uncommon, and in the case of St. Kevin's 
Church, Glendalough, to which we have already alluded, a small 
round tower springs from the roof. 


In the beginning of this century it was found that 118 of these 
circular ecclesiastical towers of Ireland were still in existence. 






The type was not peculiar to this country before the eleventh 
century, and even now twenty-two foreign examples of similar 
towers may be added. It becomes evident when we compare the 
towers now remaining, one with another, that a certain develop- 
ment of knowledge with skill in the art of building may be 


traced in these various examples, and that these signs of change 
are analogous to those which took place in the church architecture 
of Ireland after the eighth century. A classification is given in 
the following table, showing the gradation in masonry and the 
corresponding change in the character of the apertures in these 
towers ; 






Rough field-s ton es un- 
touched by hammer or 
chisel, not rounded, but 
fitted by their length to 
the curve of the wall, ] 
roughly coursed, wide- j 
jointed, with spalds or ' 
small stones fitted into 
the interstices. Mortar, 
of coarse, unsifted sand ; 
or gravel. ' 

Stones roughly ham- 
mer-dressed, rounded 
to the curve of the 
wall, decidedly 
though somewhat ir- 
regularly coursed. , 
Spalds, but often 
badly bonded to- 
gether. Mortar freely 

Stones laid in hori- 
zontal courses, well- 
dressed and carefully 
worked to the rour.d 
and batter, the w.iole 
cemerued in sin 
plain mortar cf I 
and sand. 

StrD =ff r ?=a jhb=sL- 
! ceLent masaary, 
i rather cpen-'ointed, ad 
1 therefore closely analo- 
gous to the EnglLfh- 
, Xcrnian mas;sry cf the 
first half cf the twelfth 
century ; cr, in some :r> 
stances, freest possible 
i example? of weLI-cressed 
|i ashlar. Sancstcne is 
' squared courses. 





N.B. Exceptional towers < MASONRY. OF PERFECT 
marked in italics, perfect ' ToWEI.S. 
towers in small capitals. , 



TEACHDOE, Drumboe, 
Swords, Drumcliff, 
Castledcrmot, Scat- 
tery, Antrim^ Oran, : 
Turlongh^ Trum- 
rxeryi Drumcleeve, 
Rcjthmichael, Fertagh. 

Lusk, 100 ft. 
, high by .13 ft. 
circum ; CJ en- 
First ' d^k* 11 " ^5 ft- hy 
Style of 43ft-:Scattery. 

'by soft ;*Tur- 
' lough, 70 ft. by 

i Of same material as 
; the rest of me build- 
, ing, scmetimes stones 
roughly dressed; 
1 square - headed with 
inclined sides 5 ft. 6 in. 
(high by a ft. wide. 
, 3 ft. to 13 ft. above 
, grcund. 

Same naterial 

as the rest cf the 

headed ecr V^n- 

' gular, with in- 
clined sides, near 
level of dc-crs 
' within tcwer. 

Iniscaltra, Clones, ;\ 

MEELICK, Aghavuller, > 

crea, Kildare^ Kilree, ; 
Kilmacduach, Kilcul- j 
len, Aughagower, Kil- \ 
bennan, C A s H E L, \ 


Araamor, Tullaherin. '/ 

high by 42 ft. 

!boice, no ft. 
by 51 ft- 

j First idea of arch T Same material 
\ curve scooped cut of as rest of bcild- 
] three or five stones. ' ing : sometimes 
| Architrave cccasicn- , roughly en: acd 
1 ally occurs : stones , squared. Same 
of same material as ; form and size as 
i tower, but roughly \ before, 
worked to the round. \ 

DEVEXISH, Glenda- : N 
lough, KILLALA, Kin- 
netn, Cloyne, Armoy, 
Rattoo, Ballagh, Diserr- 
Aengus. usomiskin, 
Kiikency, Drum lane. 

Devenish, < First idea cf arch, ; Same form SLS 

76 ft. high by 'curve scccped cut cf,' before, but cffrer 

43 ft. circum. | three stoses : stones I material than tie 

KLillala, 4 ft. ' of some rer material rest cf the to^er. 

rhird },jgh by 51 ft. than the wall cf the ai:d the windows 

Style, circum. tower, generally sand- ' generally __ belter 

stones cr some free- proportioned 

wcrkir.gstcne: pellet ihc.i: :h.e earlier 

| , and roll nsuldingsoc- cne^;. 

casic^ally introduced. 

TIMAHOE, Anna-i 
down, Aghadoe,' 
TEMPLE Fix AN. Kells, 
O'Rorke's Tower, ARD- ' 
MORE, Disert O'Dea. 

1 Tim a hoe, Regular radiating Same fcnn as 
96 ft, by 60 ft. round arch, of su; cr before, cf S3d- 
Temple Fi- more sieves, with stcne cu,t a*::! 
Fourth nan, 56 ft. by , architrave, cr r:a ex- squared. 
St>-le. 49 ft. t amples cf tie deco- 

Ardmcre^Sft. rated Irish Roisan- , 
by 52 ft. ; esque of the twe'fth 

3: 2 


All the references to these Bell-houses which we have been 
able to discover in the seven books of Irish Annals are appended 
to Lord Domavea's " Notes on Irish Architecture.''' The earliest 


occurs at the year 950 ; it is merely a reference to the tower of 
Sane as existing at that day, but how long it may have stood 
before this date is uncertain.* 

1 An alphabetical list of all the high and slender round church towers c 
which Dr. Petrie and Lord Dunraven collected the particulars, whether in 



The conclusions to be drawn from the above table are : 

I. That these towers ^vere built after the Irish became 
acquainted with the use of cement and the hammer. 

II. That the towers were built at or about the period of transi- 


tion from the entablature style of the early Irish period to the 
round-arched decorated Irish Romanesque style. 

Ireland or abroad, is a'so appended to " Notes on Irisli Architecture. To the 
list of Irish round towers I have teen enabled to add, with the assistance of 
the Rev. Francis Shearman, the names cf the founders of the churches to 
which they belonged ; a precaution only necessary in a country where many 
still hold these ecclesiastical towers to he of pa^an origin. 


III. That the largest number of these towers were built before 
this transition had been established, and while the Irish builders 
were feeling their way to the arch. 

IV. That as this transition took place between the time of 
Cormac O'Killen and Brian Boruma, i.e. between 900 and 1000, 
the fi rst groups of towers now standing belong to the first date. 

The average thickness of wall at the basement in the whole 
seventy-two towers is from 3 ft. 6 in. to 4 ft, there being forty towers 
out of the seventy-two which have walls of this thickness, and the 
others only vary a few inches more or less. The average diameter 
at the level of the doorway is from 7 to 9 ft. internally. Some are 
unusually broad, as Oran, which is n ft across, Dysert O'Dea 
i o ft 2 in. and Kildare 9 ft. 3 in. These towers taper and the walls 
diminish in thickness towards the top. All their apertures have 
inclined sides, being on an average 2 in. wider at the base than at 
the top. 

The doorways always face the entrances of the church to 
which they belong, unless in those instances where the church is 
evidently much later in date than the tower. The position of the 
towers was almost invariably about 20 ft to the north-west end 
of the church. This was probably from respect to the wish 
which is even now generally entertained by the Irish, to be buried 
to the east or south. 

A number of towers which bear more or less resemblance to 
those of this country, still exist, or are known to have existed, in 
other places besides Ireland. They are high, slender, and 
circular, with pointed roofs, and occasionally built of brick. 
Such, for instance, were the eleven round towers of Ravenna, of 
which six still remain ; the towers of San Nicolo at Pisa, San 
Paternian at Venice, Scheness in Switzerland, St. Thomas in 
Strasburg, Gernrode in the Hartz, two at Nivelles in Belgium. 
one at St. Maurice, Epinal, one at St Germain des Pres, one at 
Worms in Hesse Darmstadt, and two at Notre Dame de Maes- 
tricht in Belgium. In Scotland such round belfries occur at 


/' .- 




Brechin ; at St. Brigid's Church, Abernethy ; St. Magnus in 
Egilsha; and till a late period two such towers were standing at 
Deerness in the Orkneys, and three in the Shetland Isles 
St. Lawrence's Church in West Burra, St. Magnus's at Tingwail, 
and another at Ireland Head while one has been described in 
Strernoe, one of the Faroe Islands, and the tower near St. Patrick's 
Church in the Isle of Man is another. 

That this type of tower was in use at an early date upon the 
Continent is apparent from the following passage in the life of 
St. Tenenan of Brittany, by Albert Legrand. After describing 
the erection of the churches of La Foret and Pioabennec, and the 
settlement in the forest, as well as the ravages and burning of 
churches in the Leonnais by the barbarians, his biographer pro- 
ceeds : " He exhorted the people to penitence and amendment of 
life, and providing for their defence and preservation, he appointed 
a chief man of their troop as their captain, recommending him to 
erect a little round tower near the church of Ploabennec, wherein 
to deposit the silver-plate and treasure of the same church, and pro- 
tect them against the sacrilegious hands of the barbarians, should 
they wish to pillage the same church. This he accordingly did. 
Meanwhile the barbarians approached, and St. Tenenan hastily 
carried the sacred vessels into the rower wherein the captain 
entered, and resolved to defend it at the cost of his blood." 

This passage is an important one, as bearing both on the 
origin and use of these towers, suggesting that the type reached 
Ireland through Brittany, and showing that these buildings were 
the keeps of the monasteries. Here we find in the seventh 
century in Brittany this additional building added to a church for 
its protection from the attacks of barbarians, as the round towers 
were raised in the ninth century for a similar purpose in all the 
principal monasteries of Ireland. 

Till the invasion of the Northmen, the Irish ecclesiastic 
possessed his church in comparative pence, and the wall that 
encircled the groups of cells and oratories that formed his 



monastery was deemed security enough for him as was that of the 
Egyptian monk in his Laura; but 
in the year 8 DO all was changed; the 
attempted colonisation of Ireland by 
a pagan invader, resolved to extir- 
pate the Christianity that he found 
there, and to establish the national 
heathenism of his own country, com- 
pelled the monks to protect their little 
churches and cells by means of the 
lofty tower. Its great height, its iso- 
lated position and small doorway about 
fourteen feet from the ground, made 
it fit to resist the attacks of an enemy, 

chiefly armed with bows and arrows. 

The signal once made announcing the 

approach of a foe by those who kept 

watch on the top, the alarm would 

spread instantaneously. 

The Annalists of Ireland do not 

refer to such buildings till the year 

950 ; and in the entries regarding the 

attacks of the Northmen frnrn 789 to 

845 it is recorded that the clergy f.ed 

for safety into the woods, where they 

celebrated the divine mysteries and 

spent their days in prayer and fasting ; 

but in the year 950 and for two cen- 
turies later, we read of the "cloicc- 

thech/' house of a bell, as a special 

object of attack to the Northmen. FIG ^. 

In the map at the close of Lord BELFRY CF ST. GEXUVI 

Dunraven's volume an effort has been mnde to mark out the 

course of the Xorse invasions in Ireland before the tenth 


century ; the red lines mark the course taken by the invaders, 
and the crosses the churches attacked many of them per- 
sistently and repeatedly by these heathen warriors. The black 
circle stands for the round tower, and it would appear that 
the churches protected by such buildings were those situated 
in places that had in the first instance proved most liable to 
attack. They are along the coast and in the valleys of the 
rivers most infested by the enemy. Before the year 900 the 
Norsemen had first ravaged the coast and the outlying islands, 
and then their boats repeatedly were seen on the Boyne, the 
Liney, and the Shannon, while the principal lakes in which their 
fleets were stationed were Loch Foyle, Loch Neaeh, Loch Ree, 
and Loch Derg. In the valleys of these rivers distinct groups of 
these towers and churches are to be seen which had been for the 
first seventy years of this war attacked and desecrated with such 
unparalleled fury. They were also raised in regular lines along 
the coast from Gal way to the Shannon, and from Cape Clear to 

If we take all those towers which appear to have fallen at an 
early date, and place them beside those we have classified as ap- 
parently first built, it Trill be found that they belong to the churches 
first and most persistently attacked by the Northmen in the ninth 
century. The towers of Ardbrackan, Armagh, Louth, and Slane, 
were the first to fall, and are the first alluded to in the Annals. 
Erected possibly by men inexperienced in raising such lofty 
buildings, their fall was probably due to some imperfection in 
their construction or insecurity in their foundation. The three 
last are situated exactly in those places which the Kings Malachy 
or Flann would have been most likely to fortify in the first 
instance. We have already alluded to the position held by Armagh 
as the principal ecclesiastical city of Ireland, and it was probably 
on this account that it was so persistently ravaged. The church 
was attacked three times in one month in the year 832 by the 
D, and the same invaders repeated their acts of desecra- 


tion in the years 839, 850, 873, 876, 890, 893, 895, 898, 914, 919, 

9-*6, 931, 943^ 995> ICI2 > IDl6 - 

During the peace which ensued between the years 875 and 
916, the same vigorous efforts were made to restore the churches 
and monasteries of Ireland that we again read of in the beginning 
of the eleventh century ; and the communication with France, 
which had existed in the reign of Charlemagne, was continued in 
the reign of Charles the Bald, at whose court Johannes Scotus 
Erigena remained for some time. It is stated by Ware that in 
the year 848 Malachy obtained a signal victory over the Danes, 
" whereupon he sent ambassadors to Charles the Bale, king of 
France, with presents, desiring liberty of passage to Rome.*" And 
it would seem from the following passage in the Norman Chronicle 
that the Franks were fully cognisant of the successful resistance 
made by the Irish to their common enemy : " In the year 848,. 
the Northmen lay waste and burnt Burdegala (i.e. Bordeaux \ in 
Aquitania, captured through the treachery of the Jews. After- 
wards Metullus, which hamlet they lay waste and give over to the 
flames. The Scots breaking in upon the Northmen, by God's 
help victorious, drive them forth from their borders. Whereupon 
the King of the Scots sends, for the sake of peace and friendship, 
legates to Charles, with gifts." Another proof of the existence of 
such friendly relations between Ireland and France, may be found 
in the epistle of Alcuin to Colchu, lector of Gonmacnois, when 
the former was resident at the court of Charlemagne. It was 
also in the reign of this great king that two learned Irishmen, 
Clemens and Albinus, were placed at the head of schools, the one 
in France, the other in Italy. In the ground plan of the Irish 
monastery of St Gall in Switzerland, said to have been drawn by 
Eginhard, secretary to Charlemagne, we find the detached cir- 
cular belfries introduced, and standing opposite the west door, 
which we hold were afterwards copied in Ireland. 

When we investigate the history of Art in France during the 
eighth and ninth centuries, we find that little now remains save 


the mere debris of monuments belonging to this period, and that 
such fragments are examples of a very rude art, being a sort of 
compromise between Roman traditions and influences spreading 
from the East through Ravenna. In the eighth century, Leo the 
Third is said to have caused a great influx of artists into Italy 
and France. Painters, sculptors, took refuge on the coast of 
Italy and spread through the whole country. It was among these 
emigrants that Charlemagne found the artists who were to assist 
him in developing the renaissance he projected. The round 
towers of San Giovanni Battista and Sant' Apollinare in Classe, 
with others of the same character in Ravenna, as well as the 
tower of St. Maurice at Epinal, St. Genevieve, St. Germain des 
Pres, Aix-la-Chapelle, may all derive their origin from this influx 
of Byzantine workmen into the north of Italy, and to the court of 
Charlemagne, and the circular tower may be a reminiscence of 
the Eastern cylindrical pillar. However this may be, we find 
that it was immediately after this accession of Eastern influence in 
France, as well as in consequence of certain impulses or necessi- 
ties not springing from the religious sentiment, that the first 
ecclesiastical towers were raised. M. Viollet-le-Duc has shown 
vrhat was this external cause. He attributes it entirely to the 
necessity felt by the Franks of that time to protect their churches 
from the attacks of the heathen Northmen in the valleys of the 
Loire and Seine, and on the north and west coasts of France; re- 
marking that they defended their churches with towers, which were 
naturally buik above the door of the church, as being the point 
most liable to attack ; and he adds, that it is indeed in those 
countries which were particularly ravaged by the periodical incur- 
sions of the Northmen that we see abbatial, and even parochial 
churches, preceded by massive towers, " of which, unfortunately," 
be says, " nothing but the lower stories are now left to us." 

Ozanam, speaking of the Irish ecclesiastics of this period, 
observes : " Une sorte de piet^ filiale les poussait de preference 
vers ces Eglises des Gaules d'oii ils avaient regu PEvangile.'' 


This being so, strengthens the probability that the two Churches 
simultaneously attacked by the armies of a common foe should 
adopt a similar method of protection and defence. But it may 
be argued, if the type was originally imported from France, why 
are such detached church towers not :o L-e seen there still, when 
they are so common in Ireland? The answer to that is, that the 
Continental church towers of the Carlo vir.gian age have been 
almost wholly destroyed, and generally replaced by towers of a 
later and more beautiful type, while they have been left to stand 
in Ireland. However, we may learn from the few examples of 
this date remaining in France and Italy, that the first ecclesiastical 
towers may be divided into two types : one developed from the 
cupola, the other tall, slender, pointed. The nrst is never seen 
in Ireland ; the second, when round, generally stands alone. On 
the Continent, the tall church tower, whether round or square, 
is also occasionally detached, as at Sant 7 Apollinaris in Classe, and 
Pisa, but is generally at the corner of a lofty church, such as St. 
Maurice and St. Genevieve. Only the oldest and simplest type of 
such belfries ever reached Ireland and Scotland, and their singu- 
larity does not consist in their form, but in their isolation. The 
round tower with conical top was a common form in the earliest 
periods of Christian architecture, and is often represented in early 
bas-reliefs, illuminated MSS., and frescoes, and such is the form 
of the watch-tower of the feudal abbey as well as castle. The 
circular form seems to be the first chosen in all primitive buildings, 
and the conical roof is the simplest covering for such that can be 
erected. The churches of Ireland, being but the size of an 
ordinary cottage of the present day, never could have supported 
the weight of a tower of 100 ft. in height, and would always 
seem out of proportion to it ; but when a watch-tower and keep 
for the monastery became necessary, when war and rapine called 
forth the symbol of pride and power in Irish Christian architecture, 
the lofty stronghold, bearing its cross on high, was erected in the 
cemetery, and opposite the doorway of the church. 


These Irish round towers may be assigned to three distinct 
periods : first, from A.D. 890 to 927 ; secondly, from 973 to 1013 \ 
thirdly, from 1170 to 1238; and of these three periods the first 
two were marked by a cessation of hostilities with the Northmen, 
while the Irish made energetic efforts to repair the mischief caused 
by the invasions of the heathen. It is clear that these three 
divisions are distinctly marked by three steps in the progressive 
ascent of architecture from the primitive form of the entablature 
to that of the Decorated Romanesque arch. The churches built 
by Cormac O'Cillen are characterised by the horizontal lintel ; 
the church of King Brian at Iniscaltra, which exhibits a partially 
developed Romanesque doorway and chancel arch, while retain- 
ing the rude form in its minor apertures, marks a period of 
transition from the horizontal to the round-arched style; and the 
buildings of Queen Dervorgilla and Turlough O'Conor, with the 
doorway of Clonfert, show what the latter style became in the life- 
time of Donough O'Carroll. If Lusk, Glendalough, Timahoe, 
and Ardmore are taken as types of this gradation in the towers, 
we see such signs of progress as lead to the belief that a certain 
interval of time had intervened between the first and last-mentioned 
of these erections. 

There is another point which should not be passed unnoticed : 
that in the towers belonging to the Romanesque period, such as 
Ardmore, the apertures at the top are either larger or more 
numerous than those of the earlier bell-houses, and the walls are 
decorated with bands and mouldings. Such features may 
suggest that when the attacks of the heathen on our sanctuaries 
were at an end, although the tower was established as a feature 
in Irish ecclesiastical architecture, the type had begun to undergo 
such modifications as, in course of time, might develop into a 
work of greater beauty. The campanile of Ireland was passing 
through such transitions as seem to foretell the advent of a type 
that would have added to its strength the charm of finely executed 
ornament, and have lightened its blind walls in storied arches, and 


opened its bell-chamber so that its music, no longer imprisoned, 
might sound forth, and the reserved, self-centred, and resistant 
tower have broken its hard outline into forms of varying l;e,iuty 
under the influence of peace. 

" There is perhaps no question of early Christen archieslogy," 
writes Mr. Fergusson, " involved in so much obscurity as that of 
the introduction and early use of towers." The difficulty of 
clearing away such obscurities has arisen chiefly from the wan: of 
monuments remaining on the Continent to show what were the 
earliest types in Western Europe. The light that Ireland might 
cast upon the subject has not yet made itself felt, because of the 
uncertainty that has too long lingered about the history of her 
towers. Dr. Petrie, by his investigations, brought their date down 
from a pre-Christian time to a period ranging from the sixth to 
the thirteenth century, and firmly established their ecclesiastical 
character. Lord Dunraven traced the type from Ireland through 
France to Ravenna, thereby proving it analogous to that of 
buildings belonging to an historic period elsewhere. Bui he felt 
the area was far too wide over which Dr. Petrie bad extended the 
practice of erecting these structures, and was gradually arriving 
at the conclusion that such masonry as they exhibit was not to be 
found in Ireland before the ninth or tenth centuries, and that 
her Decorated Romanesque churches belong to the eleventh and 
twelith. Starting from the standpoint of these two archaeologists, 
we have arrived at conclusions which it is hoped may give to 
these towers their true place in history. 


The introduction of Romanesque architecture Into England 
is marked by the erection of Westminster Abbey by Edward the 
Confessor, in 1066, portions of which original building may still 
be seen in the Canons' Garden of the Abbey. Fifty years before 
this date, the little church of St. Caimin of Iniscaltra was built 


by King Brian Boruma, and this building marks the transition 
to the enriched round-arch style of Ireland. It appears that at 

this period in England a primitive Romanesque style already 
prevailed, which, though it has been termed Anglo-Saxon, was 


of purely Italian origin. This early style modified the character 
of that which in the reign of Edward the Confessor can:e as a 
fresh importation from Normandy, and to this source rsay be 
traced whatever distinctive features separate English Norman from 
that of Normandy itself. In Ireland, as we learn from such build- 


ings as the churches of Maghera, Banagher, and Temple 
a distinct style also prevailed at the time in which the Romanesque 
of Normandy was introduced there. Rude as many of its exarcp'.es 
are, this primitive architecture still had sufficient character and 
vitality to modify the incoming Romanesque, and to live on, 
manifesting itself, notwithstanding the fresh forms engrafted upon 



it. The style in Ireland of the eleventh and twelfth centuries 
is an Irish Romanesque style, and the peculiarities by which it is 
distinguished are "native traditions handed down from earlier 
native buildings," such as the primitive erections oi the fort- 
builders and of the early Christian missionaries, characterised by 



the horizontal lintel or the entablature, a style to be seen in the 
first buildings of all countries, and which may be classed as 
belonging to the architecture of necessity. The Romanesque 
churches of Ireland are remarkable for their diminutive size and 
simple ground plan. They are characterised by the lingering 
cf horizontal forms, and incorporation of such in the round-arch 
style; the retention of the inclined jambs of the primitive 


doorways ; their rich and delicate decoration, and the constant 
use of certain ornamental designs, characteristic of tlie late Celtic 


. ^r j -' -"' 3*-^: 

/// J * i^^t.: ; -- ; 



period, which had been common to Britain and Ireland before the 
Roman occupation of Britain. F 2 


The arches or orders of the Irish doorways spring more 
directly than do the Norman, from the sides or jambs, which in- 
cline towards them from the base, the sides of these doorways 
seeming to be a transition from the jambs and actual shafts of the 
older square-headed doorway. The angular sides of the three 
or four orders are rounded off and channelled into groups of 
bowtels, with merely slight projections at the feet, scarcely to be 

- ~ 


' " 

FIG. 90. 


FIG. 91. 

termed bases ; and, instead of separate capitals to each, a single 
entablature unites the whole, often terminating at the angles with 
heads of a strikingly archaic character. This archaic character 
is shown in the accompanying drawings of capitals from churches 
of Clonaltm and Inchagoile on Lough Corrib. The capitals of 
the early Irish Romanesque period are generally cushion or bell- 
shaped, and their rounded surfaces are often decorated, as in the 



example from Banagher Church, with the divergent spiral design 
or trumpet pattern; and sometimes assume the more complex 
forms resulting from the division of the bell by recesses into 
separate lobes or leaves, like those of a rose or tulip. 

The bases are remark- 
ably shallow, and, indeed 3 
scarcely deserving of the 
name, where, in some in- 
stances, they only serve 
as a termination for the 
groups of bowtels which 
form the jambs. They 
often consist of two rounds 
and an intermediate 
square or hollow, but 
seldom stand forward on 
a square projecting pe- 
destal or plinth. 
Where such do 
occur, as at Kille- 
shin, Clonmacnois, 
and Rahen, they 
show that beautiful 
feature of leaves 
connecting the 
bulbous portions 
with the square 
plinths at the 

Thus the round- FIG. 93. CLONALTIN. 

arch doorways of this style are stamped with a distinctly native 
character. It would seem as if the inclined sides of Maghera 
doorway (Fig. 79), encrusted with ornament, so as to resemble a 
page in one of the illuminated MSS. of the Celtic school, carved 




and wrought in stone, had been developed into the jambs of a 
doorway of the later churches, and these jambs are either 
angular, or channelled into bowtels with their angles rounded off. 
Along the tops of these semi-columns, the entablature, from 
which the arches spring, is continued so as to form a kind of 
horizontal band connecting them in place of the rows of distinct 
capitals in the Norman style. The expression of horizontal 
extension is still the idea lingering in the mind of the Irish 
architect, and stamping it with sufficient individuality to give it a 
place as a distinct variety of primitive Romanesque. These 

points are well illustrated 
in the doorways of White 
Island, and St. Farannan's 
Church, Donaghmore. 

The twelfth century 
churches of Ireland are 
often enriched both inter- 
nally and externally by 
arcades, such as are seen 
in Kilmalchedar, King Cor- 
mac's Chapel at Cashel, 
Ardmore, and Ardfert. In 
the arcade upon the face 
of the west wall of Ard- 
more, the arches spring from very slender shafts, with capitals 
and bases, the panels being filled in with sculptured figures, 
either one or two in each panel, carved in low relief. Here, 
among other subjects introduced, are a warrior with his shouldered 
knee, in the act of kneeling for the blessing of a bishop who 
stands above him, the Judgment of Solomon, the Dedication of 
the Temple, and the Temptation. 

Pilaster buttresses are often seen at the corners of the east 
and west ends of these churches, but in the most beautifully 
finished examples, such as the small church at Ardfert, Mona 



^ -.. x . " 


Incha, and the chancel of Tomgraney, these give place to beaut* 
fully proportioned columns, on which, in the first case mentioned, 
an enriched cornice, which crowns the side walls of the church, 
is seen to rest. These quoin shafts are three-quarter columns, 
with moulded bases and carved capitals, and give a classic 
character to the building. 


The love of incised mouldings, such as we find on the door- 
way of Killeshin, which give the face of the stone an effect of 
beautiful and delicate engraving, is another striking characteristic 
of Irish architectural decoration, and such ornament is very 
common throughout the country, in the borders and crosses of 
the sepulchral slabs of the ninth and tenth centuries. Then, as 
in the windows of Annadown and Rahen, borders of chevron, 
bead, and even foliate patterns are carved in very low relief, 



as exquisitely felt in their treatment as they are gracefully con- 
ceived. The pages of Ireland's sacred writings in the early days 
when illumination of MSS. was practised with success in this 
country, are, as it were, the precursors of her decorated churches, 
and all the designs of Celtic Art given by the pencil in them, are 
carved by the chisel on her stone monuments. 

We must now draw this sketch of the Arts of Christian Ireland 
before the thirteenth century 
to a conclusion. As we look 
back upon the history and 
gradual development of the 
four branches of ecclesiastical 
Art, which we have dealt with, 
it appears that the art of illu- 
mination was first in date and 
most perfect in result. It 
seems to have been carried 
to its greatest excellence at 
the close of the seventh and 
beginning of the eighth cen- 
tury. The character of the 
ornament is not wholly of 
native origin, but the use of 
ornament, the fine judgment 
displayed in its application, 
the exhibition of taste, the knowledge of architectural design, 
distinguish the Irish school from the Celtic work elsewhere. The 
origin of the interlaced patterns may be sought in the early 
remains of decoration, probably of the second and third centuries, 
in the North of Italy and Southern Gaul. The spirals, 2 ; gzags, 
and other designs belong to the primitive, pre-Christian Art of the 
-country, and were gradually grafted on that style introduced from 
abroad with Christianity. 

As regards the age of the first examples of metal-work, in 



ecclesiastical Art, we have no evidence except what may be 
o-athered from the records of the Irish Annalists and the lives of 
the saints, to prove that the goldsmith's art kept pace with that of 
the illuminator. Such objects as shrines adorned with gold and 


silver, costly chalices and reliquaries, were more likely to have 
become the prey of the pagan invader than the books of the 
monastery. Enough remains from the ninth century down to the 
twelfth to show that a distinctly Irish school of arts in metal 
existed, whose designs, while resembling those of the illuminator^ 
are quite separate in character from such examples of the 


ewellefs art as were clearly imported from the C:>ntir: 
hongh found in Ireland. For example, the chalice of Ari.:; 
:ompletely Irish, while the phial found at Church-avails in 
:ounty of Down is foreign.* Such crosiers as that of C'. jnrar.: 
are essentially Irish, both in form and design, while thos; 
Glendalough and of Cashel are Limoges work 


When we consider the remains of sculpture in Ireland, we find 
even less evidence of any remarkable skill in this art among the 
Irish before the ninth century, than in that of metal-work. The 
Annalists do not refer to the High Crosses till the beginnirg or 
the tenth century, and these are the first monuments on wh:c^ 
we find sculpture in relief, with undercutting. It wo-Id seem that 

* See Ulster Journal of Arni.Hky t vol. :i. p. 192. 



**** s 



until the ninth century the designs upon the sepulchral slabs of 
Ireland were incised upon the surface of the stone. 

The form of the Irish cross being that of a Greek cross with 
arms projecting outside the circle, and shaft elongated, is a 
-curious combination of the Greek and Latin cross, and seems 
symbolic of the whole subject of Irish ecclesiastical Art, which 
from its very beginning shows Byzantine and Latin elements 
commingled. So also in the iconography of Irish sculptured 
monuments, we have seen how in the system of representation of 
Biblical scenes, types and anti-types were drawn alternately from 
the Byzantine and Latin guides, text-books, and Bibles of the 

Finally, as regards the history of the builder's art in Ireland, 
of which we have only been enabled to offer a mere outline in 
this work, we can only repeat that which we have stated else- 
where, that the special interest of its study lies, not in that it 
possessed any singular antiquity or beauty as compared with 
works of ancient Art in other countries, but rather that owing to 
many circumstances in the history of the country, the remains of 
a great number of monuments belonging to the period between 
the fifth and the twelfth centuries of the Christian era, have 
survived, untouched by the hand either of the restorer or of the 
destroyer; and that in them, when arranged in consecutive series, 
we can trace the development from an early and rude beginning 
to a very beautiful result, and watch the dovetailing, as it were, of 
one style into another, till an Irish form of Romanesque archi- 
tecture grew into perfection. The form of the Irish church 
points to an original type that has almost disappeared elsewhere 
that of the Shrine or Ark, not of the Basilica. 

It has been the writer's object throughout this book, while 
tracing the foreign influences by which the arts were modified in 
this country, to accentuate its native peculiarities, and indicate 
such qualities in the work as, if studied in reverence, might sub- 
serve to a further development in the same lines. The revival of 


a native school in architecture, sculpture, metal-work y and 
painting is a matter of pure aspiration for any people who can 


claim possession of such in the past. An Irish church cf the 
future as it may be foreseen, is a lofty, ark-shaped building trits. a 
singularly steep roof; the style is Irish Romanesque, a, round- 


arched western doorway of five orders surmounted by a canopy* 
enriched with sculpture, round-headed windows set in frames of 
delicately incised mouldings. Pillars, plain or twisted, rise at the 
corners of the building, and support a cornice running round the 
summit of the walls from which gargoyles and sculptured heads 
project Within, the repose of the solemn round-arched style is 
rather enhanced than interfered with, by the modestly applied and 
delicately felt ornaments that enrich the orders of the arches or 
the surface of the walls. The mural painter may repeat the 
arcades and follow the architectural compositions of the grand 
pages of the Eusebian canons in the " Book of Kells," and fill the 
spaces between their columns with scriptural subjects such as are 
found in the panels of the High Crosses, while the furniture of the 
church, the'books, the book-bindings, bells, shrines, and crosiers 
might well repeat the delicate work of the Irish goldsmith of 
antiquity, and the two-handled chalice on the altar be none the 
less sacred because it preserved the chaste and lovely form that 
has come down to us from the Irish church of the ninth century- 







Petrie, " Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland." 

Wilkinson, " Practical Geology and Ancient Architecture of 

Dunraven, " Notes on Irish Architecture, with Photographs. " 

Rev. James Graves and J. G. A. Prim, " History, Architecture, 
and Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of St. Canice, Kilkenny." 

"Early Christian Architecture in Ireland." Bell & Son, 

Edward Freeman, "History of Architecture/' contains an 
important chapter on Irish Romanesque. 

Parker, Gentleman's Magazine, "Notes on Architecture of 
Ireland/ 7 No. III. 

James Fergusson, "History of Architecture." 

Rev Dr. Russell, Quarterly Review, vol. Ixxvi. 1845. 

J. H. Parker, in conjunction with 0. Jewitt. " Notes on the 
Architecture of Ireland " (Gentleman's Magazine). Vol. xvii. of 
a new series, Lon don, 1864, pp. n, 140, 276, 411, 418; pp. 134, 
26 7, 403, 539, vol. ii. 

"Die runden Thiirme in Irland," von Prof. Dr. W. von 
Zehender, in Rostock, 1885. 

Wakeman (William R), "Handbook of Irish Antiquities, 
Pagan and Christian." Dublin, 1848. 

Keller, " Mittheilungen." See "Antiq. Gesellschaft in Zurich," 
vii. 61-94. 1850. 

Waagen, in " Deutschen Kunstblattj" i. 83. 
Schnaase, "Geschichte der bildenden Kiinste," iv., abth. 2, 
s. 456. 

Bucher, "Geschichte der technischen Kiinste," i. 184. 
" Inismurray and its Antiquities/' by W. F. Wakeman. Journal 
R.H.A.A. of Ireland, vol. vii 



Abbondio, St., church of . .5 
Abbotsford , 18 

Abecedarium stone ... 4 
Abernethy, round tower at . 56 
Aed, Oissen, high cross of . 8 
Aengus, Litany of 4 

Aghadoe, mouldings in * 73 

Albinus ..... 59 
Alnmouth .... 9 
Anderson, Dr., quoted . . II 
Annadown church, window of . 72 
Annalists . . . . 30, 57 
Anthony and Paul the Theban, 

legend of . . .10 

Aranmore . . . 33 , 38 

Ardfert, arcades in . . .70 

Ardmore, arcades in . . .70 

,, bell-house of -53 

scriptural subjects in . 72 

Aries 18 

Athos, Mount . 10, 13 

Augustine, St. . * . .5 

Banagher . . . 46, 65 

,, capitals m . . . 69 
Basilica of Julia , , 4 

Beehive houses . . . . 38 
Bell -house of Desert Aengus . 52 
Bestiaries . . . . n, 16 
Bewcastle. ... 9 

Biblia Pauperum . . . 1 1 
Bobio Missal . . . - 13 
Book of Ballymote . . .12 
Book of HymnSj initials from . n 


Brechin, round icwsr at . .56 

Brennus . ... 17 

Brian Boruma . . , 64 

churches builr cy 62 

British coins , . . . i5 
Britons, camps cf . .34 
Building and architect-jre in 

Ireland ..... 28 

Burgundran library at Brussels . 2 

Burial gro-onds . . . . 38 
Byzantine artists in Italy and 

France. . . 60 

,, iconography . . 8 

,, influence in Ireland . II 
,, Painters' Guide, quoted 

Caher Conn .... 2 

Caimin's church . . .46 

Capitals, archaic character cf . 69 

, y hi Clonalda . . 69 

Carthage ..... 4 

Cashels ..... 38 

Cecilia Metella, to^ib .^f . . 42 

Cellach, stone of , .2 

Chalice of Ardagh . 13, 75 

Charlemagne . . . - 59 

Charles the Baid . . 59 

,, Irid embi5y to 59 

Christian Ar: in Irelaad, conclusion 73 

,, drama . . . II 

iconography, stereotyped 

subjects of . .17 
Church, early type of, in Ireland 40 


Classification of round towers . 5 1 

Clemens 59 

Cloghmore, in Down , . 29 
Clonaltin church . .69 

Clonmacnois . . . 2, 5, 60 
Clover Hill ... - 32 
Codex Maelbrighte . . .14 
Collingham ... 9 

Colman J 

abbot of Clonmacnois, 

high cross of . .8 
Columba, church of, at Kells . 48 
Commemorative crosses . . 7 
Comparative mythology . . 3 
Conaing Mulconry, poem of . 2 
Cormac's chapel, arcades in 

60, 76, 77 

interior . 74, 7& 

,, doorway of . 77 

Cormac O'Cillen ... 44 
churches built by 62 

Corner shafts .... 7 
Crosier of Cashel ... 75 
Clonmacnois . . 75 
Glendalough . .75 
Cross, first instance of, on build- 
ings . . . .40 
Greek and Latin . . 78 
Irish, form of . . , 78 
Cuchulain. . . . .37 
Curoi stone I 

Cuthbert, St 9 

Cyclopean masonry . -36 

Dance of death . . . .24 
Decorated Romanesque . . 62 

Demetria 5 

Dervila's church . . .46 

Dervorgilla, buildings of . ,62 

Development of arch, links in . 48 

,, traces o in 

masonry 48 
DisertO'Dea .... 54 




, 62 

. 69 

. 30 







. 16 
. 18 

of, 34, 

57, 63 



. 56 


England, inscribed crosses of . 9 
Enoch O'Gillan, poem of . .2 
Epinal, round tower at . 54, 60 
Evans, Mr. John, quoted . .17 

Farannan's church, St. . . 67 

,, doorways of 70 

,, mouldings of 68 

Faroe Islands, round tower in . 56 

Ferguson, Samuel . .27 

Fergusson, James, quoted . 42, 63 

Finan, St., founder of Skellig 

monastery . . 42 
,, oratory . . .41 
Finten's stone .... I 
Flann Sinna .... 8 
Formulae in Irish epitaphs. . 6 
Forts, prehistoric . . 33, 38 

Divergent spiral . 
Dolmens .... 
Donaghpatrick, church of . 
Donough O'Carroll, church of 
Doorways, native character of 
Douth .... 
Dun Aengus . . 

,, Conor 

,, Lughaidh . 

,, Murvey Mil 

,, of Aodh Finn . 

,, ofConall . 

of Cuchulain 

,, of Fergus . 
Dunfallandy, Perthshiie . 
Dunkeld .... 
Du Noyer, George . 
Dunraven, Edwin, third Earl 
44, 5 2 ; 
Dysart, Westmeath . 

Earth-houses . 
Edward the Confessor 
Egilsha, round tower at 
Eginhard , 




France and Ireland, friendly re- 

Isidore . . 


lations between . 59 

Isle of Man . 

. 9 

Freiburg, in Breisgau . 13, 25 

,, round tower in 

. 56 

Freshford 13 

Friar's Island, Killaloe . 48 

Joannes Scotus Erigena . 


John, St., representations ol 

1 S 

Gallarus . . * . 39 

,* Theoiogus 


Gall, St. . . . . 13 

Juvene Druides . . 

* J 
. I 

bell-houses at -59 

Gaul 4.6,7 

Kells, high crosses of. 

. 18 

Gaulish coins . . . .16 

Book of . 


Gaulish monuments I 

Kerry pillar stones . 


Gauls 17 

Kevin's, St., Glendalough 

. 4S 

Gernrode, round towei in . 54 


- 37 

Gillachrist O'Tuahail . , 8 

Kilcrony church 


Giotto 16 

Killeshin, "bases of . 

. 69 

Gleneask, Tyreragh, Co. Siigo . 31 

incised, moulding 


Greece . . 17 

T^ 1 1 ] Y[? S3 tTff^^T 


Kilmalchedar, arcades in . 

. 70 

Harris, island of * . . 24 

,, church of . 


Hartleoool Q 


Hermer and Friule, tomb of . 7 

Heimitages on mountain lakes . 42 

Lancaster .... 

- 9 

High crosses . . . 8, 9 

Latin influence in Ireland . 

. ii 

iconography of 9, 18 

Leabhar Breac . 


list of ... 23 

Leo III 

. 60 

of Clonmacnois . 7 


Hissarlik 36 

Lion cub legend 

. 16 

Lombardic sculpture . 

. 9 

Iconography, systems of . . 8, 9 

Loughacmore . 


Iniscaltra, church of . . 63, 64 

Innisicurray, ground plan of 

Maeslricht, round tower cf 

- 54 

monastery . 39 

Maghera .... 


island of .5 

chuich doorway . 


Irish Art, compared with Scottish, 

Makchy,!^ . 


Anglo-Saxon . . 25 

Malta, cave tombs of 


, ; Romanesque, characteristics 

Marseilles, museum cf 


of .70 

Meigle .... 

. iS 

fl Jt churches 63, 66 

Merthyr Tydvil 

* 4 

not derived from 

Michael, mc^^steryo- Ske!!ig 


basilica . 40 

fc-underof 42 

,, development of 

*tvl# fifi TR 

Milan .... 


. 13 



Mona India, comer shafts in . 7 2 
Moone abbey . . . .18 
Mortuary chapels . . .40 
Muireadach, abbot of Monaster- 
boice, high cross of . . 8 

New Grange . . . 30, 31 

Nivelles, round tower in . - 54 

Noah and the ark , 18 

on cross of Kells . . 12 

Norman Chronicle, quoted . 59 

Normandy .... 65 

Norse invasions, map of . 57 

Northmen in France . . 60 

,j Ireland 56-59 

O'Duny, high cross of . . 8 
Ogham character . . . 32 

,, stones, date of . . i 
Oissen, abbot of Cong, high 

cross of 8 

O'Neil 26 

Oran, bell-house of . . 54 
Oratories . . . .38 

Origins of Irish Art . . .17 
Orkney Islands, round towers in 56 
Ozanam, quoted . . . 60 

Pagan forts occupied by first 

Christian missionaries . . 37 
Panselinos, painter, of Mount 

Athos 10 

Patrick, St 37 

Pavia, San Michele, in .24 

Penally 4 

Petrie, George, referred to 25, 26, 63 
Phial found at Church-walls . 75 
Philip II., of Macedon . . 17 
Pickering, Yorkshire r .17 
Pillar-stone 7 

Pisa, Campo Santo . . .24 

towers of . . . ,54 
Ploabennec, Brittany, round 

tower at ... 55 


Rahen churcn . . 68, 69, 72 
Rath-hill, near Drogheda . . 29 
Rathkenny , . . -30 
Ravenna . 5, 10, iS, 54, 55, 60 
Reeves, Dr., quoted . . 13, 14 
Representations of Christ and the 

apostles, directions for . . 14 
Rhys, Mr., quoted i 

Roman catacombs, formula . 6 
,, iconography ... 8 
pilgrims to Ireland . 4 
Romanesque, primitive, in Eng- 
land . . ,64 

Rome 59 

Round towers . . . 48-63 
localities of . .58 

of Ireland belong 

to three periods . 62 
represented in bas- 

reliefs, illumina- 
ted manuscripts, 
and frescoes . 61 
,. type not peculiar to 

Ireland . . 54 
Rusticus, St. , bishop of Narbonne 7 
Ruthwell cross . . . 8, 10 

Saa Giovanni Battista, Ravenna 


Sant' Ambrogio ... 5 
Sant' Apollinare in Ciasse . . 60 
Sant 5 Eustorgio . . 5 
Santa Helena, church of . .42 
Scandinavian influence 
Scheness, tower at, in Switzer- 
land 54 

Schliemann . . . . 36 

Scotland 9 

pillar-stones in, icono- 
graphy of . . 23 
round towers in . -54 
Sculptured stones i 

Saxon, Manx, and Welsh 25 



Senach, St., ground plan of 

| Towers, two types of 


monastery .... 

41 Transition church . 


Sbandwick, Ross-shire . . 


from dry wall ma- 

Shetland Islands, round towers in 


sonry to cemented 

Slane, tower of. 


walls, date of 


Slieve-na-Calliaghe . 


from &lse to true arcli 


Speculum HumanaeSalvationis . 


from Pagan practices 

Speculum Sancte \\ ariaVirginis . 


to Christian, in- 

Spiral, divergent 

6 stances of . 



24 ,, in forms of ioer 


St. Andrew's .... 


sign of, in: Insh iocr- 

St. Germain des Pres . 54, 


ways . 


Staigue Fort .... 

35 Trumpet pattern . . 6, 


Stephens, Runic inscriptions 

9 , Tully-druid .... 


Stone churches with cement 

44 Tumuli 29. 


circles , 

30 Turlough O'Conor, high cress of 


cist .... 


buildiLgs of. 


Strasburg, round towers in 


i Urn burial 



3 i 

Temple Cronan , 

46 \ Vaenor, in Wales 


Temple Martin . . .46, 



Tenenan, St 

56 Venice, tower at ... 


Tennyson, quoted . . . 

24 Via Appia Xova, church of 


Terminal crosses 

7 : Vigean, St 


Ternoc, son of Ciaran 


Violiet-le-Duc, quoted * 


Tiree, island of. 


Trim hit nne fnrm of 


Tomgraney, corner shafts . 


Ware, quoted . 




Way of the Cross 


Towers, alphabetical list of 


W'estminster Abbey . 


earliest types in Europe 


White Island church 


,, gradation of type . 


doorway of 


investigations of Dr. 

Worms, round lower at . 




>f TinmaTifxinnp r prinrl